Houston Military Divorce Lawyers
Clear Solutions for Complex Legal Issues - (713) 909-7323
You know all too well how military service puts intense pressure on a marriage. Demands of deployment, impact of injuries, and other issues can easily undermine marriage bonds. Even in a marriage that started with the best of intentions, you may be looking for an exit strategy or having to respond to a spouse's divorce filing.
At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. , we know just how tough it is to both serve your country-or be a military spouse-and handle domestic duties. Our family law team is led by Lennea Cannon, a lawyer with more than 10 years of experience handling challenging family law matters. Our firm's managing partner, attorney Simon "Trey" Hendershot III, is a former infantry and JAG officer. We have the practical experience and technological resources to ably serve military personnel and their spouses all over the world in divorce cases.
Wherever You Are, We Can Help.
Contact us online from anywhere in the world and we will respond. You can call our office at (713) 909-7323 in the U.S., or use Skype if you are abroad
Divorce & the SCRA: Complexity & the Need for Planning
Our first thought, as attorneys skilled at handling divorce cases for service personnel or their spouses, is always strategic. The issue at hand in your case may be child custody and visitation, property division, or spousal support-or any combination thereof. Whatever the sticking point is, we make sure to approach it with a plan in mind to accomplish your goals. It isn't only that military divorce involves unique pressures and logistics.
Some very specific legal procedures also come into play. In particular, there is a detailed federal law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) for those on active duty. Complicated considerations governing the division of military retirement benefits also apply in divorce cases. The plan we develop to pursue those goals will take proper account of key laws like the SCRA.
For example, the SCRA allows for a 90-day stay or continuance in civil proceedings initiated against a service member. This stay includes divorce proceedings. It applies not only to active-duty military personnel, but also to National Guard and Reserve members.
Property Division & Military Retirement Benefits
For young couples that have not accumulated many military benefits, property division is usually not that difficult. However, if you or your spouse has served for many years and built up significant assets in a retirement account, it is a very different situation.
When someone has a military pension or retirement account, detailed federal regulations affect the valuation of the account and how it is to be divided in the event of divorce. It can almost seem like trying to make sense of an alphabet soup of acronyms and agencies.
Some of these include the following:
- Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA): The federal law that protects the rights of ex-spouses in the division of military retirement benefits
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS): The arm of the Defense Department that provides payment services to military personnel
- Military Occupational Specialty (MOS): Job classifications assigned within the armed forces, affecting pay and retirement benefits
- Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): An order by a local court directing a portion of retirement pay be distributed to an ex-spouse
- Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP): The benefit plan potentially available to spouses or ex-spouses after the death of a service member
We are skilled at military divorces and can sort out these regulations for you. Using our experience and knowledge, we will roll up our sleeves and make sure you receive or pay the rightful allotment of your pay.
Custody & Visitation Issues for Service Personnel
If you are involved in a military divorce, some extremely particular alternatives to standard child custody and visitation arrangements will be necessary. The types of arrangements that are customary in civilian life do not necessarily work for service personnel and their ex-spouses. In civilian life, the parent who does not have primary physical custody might get the child every other weekend. However, an every-other-weekend arrangement simply does not work for you when you are deployed in a far-flung location like Afghanistan.
Accordingly, we seek creative ways to satisfy visitation requirements that reflect the unique challenges involved with service member parents. This often involves helping noncustodial parents work out special agreements to make up parenting time lost to training or unavoidable deployment.
Our Houston military divorce attorneys also handle issues of paternity for unmarried parents, ensuring your right to visitation is preserved. We have the tenacity and tact to find ways to vindicate your custody and visitation rights in ways tailored to your specific situation. To learn more about how our law firm can protect your interests during a military divorce, contact us online or call (713) 909-7323. We are available to you at all hours from anywhere in the world. From our offices in Houston, we serve clients throughout Texas and around the world.
Consultations are confidential and are available via Skype if you are deployed overseas. Call (713) 909-7323 today.