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Division of Military Retirement in Texas Divorces

Dallas Divorce Attorneys Helping People Protect Their Rights in Dissolution Proceedings

One of the benefits of being a member of the United States military is that, if you serve long enough, you will receive a pension. Military pensions, like other retirement funds earned during a marriage, are considered marital property, which means that if a retired service member decides to end their marriage, their spouse may be able to recover some of their pension. There are multiple factors that impact the division of military retirement in Texas divorces, however. If you are contemplating ending your marriage and you or your spouse receive a military pension, it is important to understand how divorce may impact your financial rights. The capable Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can evaluate your case and inform you of what measures you can employ to protect your interests.

Laws Pertaining to the Division of Military Retirement in Texas Divorce

In Texas, the division of military retirement benefits in divorce cases is governed by both federal and state laws. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that authorizes states to consider military retirement pay divisible marital property in divorce proceedings. Under the USFSPA, military retirement benefits earned during the marriage are considered community property subject to division upon divorce, regardless of whether the service member is still active duty or retired.

Under the USFSPA, a military spouse must meet certain requirements to be eligible to recover military retirement benefits in a divorce. Specifically, the service member and former spouse must have been married for at least 10 years, during which the member performed at least 10 years of military service creditable towards retirement eligibility, a condition commonly known as the 10/10 rule.

Additionally, the Texas Family Code (the Code) provides guidelines for the division of military retirement benefits in divorce cases. Specifically, it states that marital property, including military retirement benefits earned during the marriage, is subject to division in a divorce. Texas is a community property state, which means that marital property is typically divided equally between the spouses, although the court has discretion to divide property in a manner that it deems just and right, considering factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial circumstances, and contributions to the marriage.

Methods Employed in the Division of Military Retirement in Texas Divorce

When dividing military retirement benefits in a Texas divorce, the court may employ multiple methods, including deferred distribution, net present value, and reserved jurisdiction. Under the deferred distribution method, the court assigns a portion of the service member's retirement pay to the former spouse but defers distribution of such pay until the service member becomes eligible to receive retirement benefits. In contrast, the net present value method involves the court awarding the former spouse a lump sum or other assets of equivalent value to compensate for their share of the military retirement benefits, allowing for an immediate division of the benefits. Under the reserved jurisdiction method, the court retains the right to determine each party’s share of military retirement benefits until the service member spouse retires.

USFSPA dictates that retirement pay awarded as property in divorce cases must be specified either as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of disposable retired pay, which is the gross retirement pay minus allowable deductions. If the divorce occurs while the military member is still on active duty, the former spouse's award can be expressed through an acceptable formula or a hypothetical retired pay award. Awards specified as a percentage of a member's retirement pay are automatically considered a percentage of disposable retired pay under the USFSPA. Notably, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is not required if the former spouse's award is outlined in the relevant court order.

Confer With a Skilled Dallas Divorce Attorney

Under Texas law, absent an agreement stating otherwise, any income earned during a marriage is considered marital property, including military retirement benefits. If you intend to dissolve your marriage and want to know more about the division of military retirement in Texas divorces, it is wise to confer with a lawyer as soon as possible. The skilled Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group are proficient at handling complex dissolution proceedings, and if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. Our principal office is located in Dallas. We are also available to meet clients by appointment at our Collin-County office, which is located in Plano. We frequently represent people in divorce actions in Dallas, Garland, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Irving, Richardson, Frisco, and McKinney. Additionally, we represent parties in family-law cases in cities in Dallas, Denton, Rockwall, Collin, Tarrant, and Grayson. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or by using our form online to arrange a meeting.

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