10 Points in Military Family Law in the Texas Courts

  1. When courts compute child support they often include non-taxable benefits in setting the “net resources” for the calculation. BAS and BAH can be included in setting the “net resource”. Call a lawyer familiar with military family law to address this issue.
  2. A soldier who gets divorced and there are children of the marriage, he or she will continue to receive BAH with dependents if he or she is subject to a child support order whose value is more than the differential between BAH with Dependents and BAH without Dependents.
  3. Service members in divorce cases who are facing deployments should make sure that they identify someone to exercise their visitation in their place when they are deployed.
  4. Service members have an obligation to support their dependents. Commanders can order them to pay out a portion of their BAH to their dependents. The Army regulation governing this requirement is known as AR 608-99.   If a service member is going through a divorce and the court issues a temporary support order, that court-ordered support order trumps the Army support regulation.
  5. A divorce court should never grant a “default” decree against an active duty service member. The court should appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of the absent service member.
  6. Service connected VA disability, although not divisible in a divorce case, is still available to be included in the “income” of a former service member when child support is to be calculated. Some former active duty service members have VA disability income, military retirement and income from their employment.  All three of these sources need to be included in child support calculations.
  7. When a spouse is seeking a portion of his or her military spouse’s military retirement, he or she needs to locate and consult with a military family lawyer who has experience is calculating that benefit.
  8. Remember that a divorce decree needs to address both military retirement and the Survivor Benefit Plan. They are separate and distinct matters to be addressed and awarded in a divorce decree.
  9. If a service member who is the principal parent following a divorce (sometimes called the primary joint managing conservator or sole managing conservator) gets deployed, his former spouse cannot use the deployment alone as grounds for modification of the custodial provisions of a decree.
  10. Military family law is a very special area of divorce law. Always consult with an experienced military family lawyer when facing divorce or other parent-child issues such as paternity or child support matters.