San Antonio, TX Family Law and Military Divorce Blog

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Difference Between a Divorce and an Annulment


What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment of a marriage?  Divorce is based on a defect that provides "grounds" for divorce that emerges during the marriage.  The most basic ground for divorce is "insupportability."   Insupportability is Texas' version of "no-fault" divorce; it simply means the bonds of marriage have been broken to the point that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation.  Other grounds for divorce include "adultery" and "cruelty,"  for example.

An annulment is based on a defect that existed prior to the marriage that makes the marriage voidable.


Read more . . .


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Military and Federal Civil Service Divorce: When the Survior Benefit/Annuity Goes Untreated


Military divorce and Federal Civil Service divorce involves more than division of the Servicemember's disposable military retired pay or the Federal Employee's annuity.  In military divorce, it also involves treatment of the Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.  In Federal Civil Service divorce, it also involves treatment of the Former Spouse Survivor Annuity.  Failure to expressly award or deny the Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan annuity or Former Spouse Survivor Annuity in the decree means the parties become tenants in common in the undivided community asset which is subject to future division.1

A Former Spouse may bring a post-divorce suit for division of the undivided asset under Texas Family Code Section 9.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What to do When Former Spouse Dies Before the Military Retiree


In military divorce, when the former spouse dies before the military retiree, former spouse retired pay payments stop.  The monthly payments that were going to the former spouse return to the military retiree.  How do you notify DFAS to make this happen?

DFAS requires written documentation regarding the death of a former spouse that includes a copy of the death certificate.
Read more . . .


Monday, July 2, 2018

Name Change in Divorce


Sometimes in divorce, the question of "can I change my name at divorce to anything I want?"  The answer is, "no."  Texas Family Code Section 45.105 governs names changes in divorce.  The code states the party may request a name change to "a prior used name."  If you've been married more than once, you can change your name to a name used in a previous marriage or your maiden name.
Read more . . .


Monday, April 30, 2018

When Clarifying an Order for DFAS or OPM, Not Every Error Can Be Fixed


 Our firm has helped many military former spouses clarify a domestic relations order so that DFAS will begin to pay former spouse retired pay.  We've done the same countless times for former spouses of Federal Civil Service employees so OPM will begin to pay the former spouse annuity.

Sometimes serious errors are detected when analyzing defective order to be clarified.  For example the former spouse's award in one order rejected by DFAS read as follows:  "The former spouse is awarded 50% of the disposable retired pay of a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), with 13 years and 10 months of creditable service on the date of divorce." (emphasis added).


Read more . . .


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) "Base Amount" - Avoiding A "Death Windfall"


Under all conditions, former spouse retired pay stops at the servicemember's death. SBP is a purchased annuity that provides a replacement stream of income to a former spouse who outlives the servicemember.  

The SBP "base amount" is the amount of the servicemember's gross retired pay that is insured.  By default, the base amount is the full amount of retired pay.  The base amount can be anything between the servicemember's gross retired pay but not less than $300.


Read more . . .


Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Spoliation" - The Destruction of Evidence


Spoliation is the destruction of evidence.  In divorce, this mainly centers on destruction or deletion of social media content and text messages or video stored in a party's cell phone.  In order to prove spoliation, the party making the allegation must demonstrate that the party alleged to have committed spoliation had a duty to preserve the information.  People generally understand that a duty not to destroy or delete evidence exits once litigation starts.  Courts often include a prohibition against spoliation in "standing orders" that must be attached to an original petition or counterpetition.


Read more . . .


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Military Divorce: No SBP at Retirement, No SBP in Divorce


Former Spouse retired pay payments stop on the death of the Servicemember.  The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a purchased annuity that protects a Former Spouse by providing a stream of income after the Servicemember’s death.

If divorce occurs after the Servicemember's retirement, there are two scenarios where the Former Spouse will be vulnerable.  First, if the Servicemember at retirement, with the Spouse’s written approval, opts for a reduced amount of SBP (i.e.


Read more . . .


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Visitation Schedule Concerns for the "Non-Primary" Parent


With respect to children and visitation in divorce, the norm in Texas is to name the parents “Joint Managing Conservators” with one of the conservators having the right to designate the primary residence of the children (with or without geographic restriction.   Being a Joint Managing Conservator means both parents have equal rights with respect to the children.  It does not mean that both parents have equal time of possession.
Read more . . .


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Federal Employee Death Prior to 10 Years Service and Survivor Annuities

In a Federal Civil Service divorce, will for former spouse who has been awarded a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity always collect on that annuity after the death of the employee?  Not always.

Federal law provides that if the employee completed at least 18 months service, but LESS THAN 10 YEARS SERVICE at time of death, then the former spouse only is entitled to the Basic Employee Death Benefit.  This remains true even if a divorce decree and court order accepted by OPM had ordered a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity. 

The Basic Employee Death Benefit is as follows:

  1. Fifty percent of the final annual rate of basic pay of the employee; plus,
  2. Fifteen thousand dollars (adjusted annually by cost-of-living adjustments for retirees since 12/0/1987; currently in 2017 worth slightly more than $32,423).

Read more . . .


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Not Sure If Your Spouse Has A Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Account?


TSP can provide a spouse with the plan participants account statements to help the spouse, in divorce, develop a proper court order. The information that TSP will provide includes:

  • Participant's account balance;
  • Participant's outstanding loan balance, if any; and,
  • Annual or Quarterly statements for the period requested.

 A subpoena is not required to obtain the info above.  A proper written request from the spouse, or the spouse's attorney, is sufficient.  A proper request must include:

  • Participant's name and account number OR social security number;
  • The name of the person requesting the info and the relationship of that person to the Participant;
  • A description of the information needed (e.

Read more . . .


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The Cramp Law Firm is located in San Antonio, Texas and assists clients throughout Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Kendall counties.



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