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San Antonio, TX Family Law and Military Divorce Blog

Monday, August 8, 2016

Survivor Benefit Plan Now Transferrable to New Spouse after Former Spouse Dies


Until passage of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), any Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage awarded a former spouse in a military divorce vanished when the former spouse died before the retired servicemember.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Military Retirement System Reform Starting in 2018


The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-92) has changed the landscape of the military retirement system, as follows:

  1. Persons entering the military on or after January 1, 2018, will be under the new "modernized" retirement system.
  2. Servicemembers with less than 12 years of service as of December 31, 2017 (i.e.
    Read more . . .


Monday, July 11, 2016

Fraudulent Concealment, Destruction or Alteration of a Will


Family dynamics can turn nasty, particularly after a parent or relative dies and a struggle for a portion of the decedent's estate among family members looms.  What, if any, consequences are there if a person deceives others about the existence or content of the decedent's Will?

The Texas Penal Code Section 32.47 establishes that:

  • "A person commits an offense if, with intent to defraud or harm any person, he, destroys, removes, conceals, alters, substitutes, or otherwise impairs the verity [i.e. "truth"], legibility, or availability of a writing, other than a governmental record.

Read more . . .


Monday, June 20, 2016

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) "Base Amount" at Retirement or Divorce


A servicemember's military retired pay stops when the servicemember dies.  Likewise, in military divorce, a former spouse's share of military retired pay also stops when the servicemember dies.  How can the former spouse replace some or all of the income stream from retired pay that terminates on the servicemember's death?  The answer is to have Read more . . .


Monday, June 6, 2016

Part 2 - Completing a Divorce When the Other Spouse's Whereabouts Are Unknown


This is the second in a two-part blog.  This second blog focuses on the two tracks available for finishing a divorce when: (1) the other spouse's whereabouts are unknown; (2) the other spouse has been served by "Citation by Publication"; and, (3) the other spouse failed to file an answer or other responsive pleading.  Before reading this blog, you might want to glance at the first blog by clicking Read more . . .


Monday, May 23, 2016

Completing a Divorce When the Other Spouse's Whereabouts are Unknown


The law requires that the spouse you are suing for divorce (i.e. the Respondent) be served with a copy of the divorce petition and afforded an opportunity to respond.  How can you meet that requirement when the whereabouts of the other spouse are unknown?

In these situations, the law permits the other spouse to be served with legal notice by "citation by publication."  Citation by publication involves posting the legal notice involving the petition for divorce in a local newspaper.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Unmarried Cohabitants and an Entitlement to Spousal Maintenance (Not!)


Occasionally I get asked whether a partner from a long-time cohabitation relationship can ever qualify for court-ordered "spousal" maintenance?  The answer is, "no."  Section 8.061 of the Family Code makes clear that "an order for maintenance is not authorized between unmarried cohabitants under any circumstances.


Read more . . .


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Divorce and Ex-Spouse's Authority Under Statutory Durable Power of Attorney


If you appointed your spouse as your Agent under a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, divorce terminates your now ex-spouse's authorities.  The only exception is where the Statutory Durable Power of Attorney expressly provides otherwise.

While termination of the ex-spouse's authority occurs "by operation of law," it is prudent for the principal to direct the ex-spouse / former Agent to surrender the now defunct Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.  The principal might also wish to take certain actions to notify financial institutions and other important entities of the termination of the Agent's authority to act since these institutions are not liable to the principal unless they have "actual knowledge" of the Agent's termination.

Speak with a qualified divorce / family law and estate planning attorney for further information on this and related topics.


Read more . . .


Sunday, April 24, 2016

How Does a Military Grandparent get a Grandchild in their Custody TRICARE Eligible?


Recently I've had a flurry of calls from active and retired military grandparents who, having gained possession of a grandchild, need help making the grandchild eligible for TRICARE enrollment.    If the grandchild isn't "adopted" by the grandparents, then in DOD regulations they need to qualify as a "legal ward" to be eligible.  While each service has its own regulations enacting DOD policy, I'll refer to Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-3026, Identification Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Eligible Family Members, and Other Eligible Personnel.   Other service regs, of course, state the same requirements, because they stem from DOD policy.

The AFI outlines requirements for a "Legal Ward" as follows (paraphrased for ease of understanding) 1:

  • An unmarried child less than 21 years of age, or less than 23 years of age if in college;
  • The military member has been designated by a court of competent jurisdiction as the "managing conservator" of the child; and
  • The court order specifies that the length of conservatorship is not less than 12 consecutive months or permanently.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Military Blended-Families: Overseas Assignment and Command Sponsorship of Stepchildren


Here is a scenario in which I recently helped three military blended-families get things in order for overseas reassignment from the San Antonio area (two to Germany and one to a Pacific location).   The scenario looks like this:

  1. The military member's spouse has children from a previous marriage or relationship (i.e. the military member now has stepchildren).
  2. The spouse never got a court order that gave him or her the following

Read more . . .


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance May Not Factor VA Disability Compensation


As a general rule, Texas courts do not award post-divorce spousal maintenance easily.  When awarded, however, the maximum amount the law allows is the lesser of $5,000 per month or 20% of the paying spouse's average monthly gross income.

The Family Code specifically exempts VA disability compensation from being counted among average monthly gross income.  See Tex. Fam.


Read more . . .


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