There are more Texans in the U.S. Military than from any other state. Therefore, I frequently run into special legal issues in the family law world regarding our service members.
As the son of a career USMC officer and the grandson of a World War 2 veteran, these issues are very familiar to me. I have handled many such cases in my career.
The most common challenge facing service members and their spouses is their residence. Texas requires a 6-month residency, including three months in the county where you intend to file for divorce or other family law actions. This is not always practical, considering how often service members are deployed overseas, TDY and PCS. Military families are also often separated, making it unclear where the appropriate jurisdiction lies.
The Soldier & Sailor Act of 1943 (and related laws) dictate some of this. You cannot pursue a lawsuit of any kind (including a family law matter) against a service member deployed overseas. As with any law, there are some exceptions and modifications of that law. Consult with a competent attorney about these matters.
The modification and enforcement of existing family orders from other states are also a significant concern. For example, if a couple got divorced in California, and the husband is now deployed to Texas - how does the father enforce his visitation rights? How does the mother make sure she is paid child support? How would a military pension be divided? All of these questions have answers, but they are complex.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?: Video Guide
In this video, Brian Walters explains situations in which people should hire a divorce lawyer and when it might not be necessary. Increasingly, couples do not need to divorce without getting attorneys involved. In California, for example, 80 percent of divorcing couples complete the process on their own without obtaining legal representation. However, you will most likely need a lawyer to protect your rights if your soon-to-be-ex already has an attorney and is planning to take you to court. Brian also notes that in cases involving divorce, it’s important to know that you do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney. Click here to watch the video.
Texas Divorce Law: Video Guides
In Texas family Law Video Guide, I explain some critical information you need to know to complete your Texas family law case from beginning to end. The videos below covers the law, the procedure you’ll take to complete your case, and the basics of what to do at various points in the process. I will also discuss how to negotiate with the other side to get what you want and how to speak and act in front of a judge when you go to court. Click here to watch the videos.