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Family Law

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Military Divorce: Stats on Military Retirees in Texas and the San Antonio Region


Texas ranks first with 9.95% or 215,818 of the nation's 2.168 million military retirees living in the Lone Star State.  The top five States with the largest military retiree populations are as follows:

  1. Texas: 215,818
  2. Florida: 202,840
  3. Virginia: 157,821
  4. California: 154,736
  5. Georgia: 99,645

Closer to home, approximately 18% or 38,997 of Texas' military retirees live in the San Antonio region as measured by those living within the "782" zip code.  If the "781" zip code is added, which includes military retirees in Comal, Guadalupe and Wilson Counties (among other counties in "781"), the greater San Antonio region then accounts for 26.


Read more . . .


Sunday, March 15, 2020

Military Divorce: Blended Retirement System Lump Sum Payment Option

I recently gave a presentation on the military's new Blended Retirement System (BRS) at the Family Law Bar Association - San Antonio.  The paper I wrote is on our website under the "Forms" tab.

A lump sum option may be selected by a Servicemember within 90 days of retirement. The first lump sum option is a 25% lump sum with 75% of regular monthly retired pay.  The second is a 50% lump sum with 50% of regular monthly retired pay.  The lump sum / reduced retired pay extends from retirement until the Servicemember's full Social Security retirement age, which for most is 67 years of age.  At full Social Security retirement age, military retired pay returns to its full amount. 


Read more . . .


Monday, February 17, 2020

Can A Court Order for Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance Be Modified?


Yes, it can.  The requestor or movant must file a Motion to Modify Post-Divorce Spousal Maintenance in the Court that made the initial order.  Procedures for filing an original suit apply, which means the former spouse receiving maintenance must be served with citation.  At an evidentiary hearing, the movant bears the burden of proving that a material and substantial change has occurred such that the movant no longer can longer afford to pay the Court-ordered amount.  In proving that a material and substantial change has occurred, the movant must prove the facts and circumstances that existed at time of the original order and the facts and circumstances that exist now.
Read more . . .


Saturday, January 25, 2020

How Recoupment of Separation Incentive Pay Impacts Former Spouse Pay


Some servicemembers left the service by taking Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) pay or Special Separation Bonus (SSB) pay and later returned to military duty and qualified for either an active duty or reserve component retirement.  So, what happens to the VSI or SSB payments the servicemember received?

DFAS will recoup the amount of VSI or SSB it paid.  Generally, recoupment starts about 3 months after the now retired member begins to receive retired pay.  The recoupment rate is 40 percent of the retired member's retired pay per month until the full recoupment has been satisfied.  Retired members may apply for a hardship reduction in the amount recouped.


Read more . . .


Monday, November 25, 2019

DFAS Says I Need a Clarification Order - Must My Ex-Spouse Be Served?


Yes, when DFAS tells a former spouse that a clarification order is necessary to receive former spouse retired pay, the ex-spouse/Servicemember "must" be served with notice of the clarification proceeding.  The former spouse cannot simply claim the Court has jurisdiction over the Servicemember because of a prior proceeding (e.g. the divorce decree).  In fact, the clarification proceeding requires that jurisdiction over the Servicemember be established (one might say, "re-established") through one of the three methods specified in the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), which are as follows:


Read more . . .


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Can Former Spouse Retired Pay Payments Be Stopped?


The answer to the question of whether a former spouse's retired pay payments can be stopped is, "it depends."  The Dep't of Defense regulation governing this subject matter states the following:

  • "Unless the court order specifies otherwise, payments will stop upon [DFAS's] receipt of notice of the death of either party.  Payments will be prorated for the month of death of either party."   See Note 1, below.
  • "Unless the court order specifies otherwise, retired pay award payments will not stop upon [DFAS's] receipt of notice of the former spouse's remarriage.

Read more . . .


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Cap for Calculating Guidline Child Support Set to Increase September 1, 2019


The cap for "net resources" when calculating guideline child support increases from $8,550 to $9,200, effective September 1, 2019.  The Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division (OAG) recently announced the coming change. 

OAG manages the child support system for Texas.
Read more . . .


Sunday, July 21, 2019

What Happens to Former Spouse Retired Pay When the Former Spouse Dies Before the Servicemember


After a military divorce, when a Former Spouse predeceases the Servicemember, the Former Spouse's share of disposable retired pay returns to the Servicemember.1  Former Spouse retired pay cannot be "sold, assigned, transferred, or otherwise disposed of (including by inheritance).2"

Ironically, the same cannot be said for a Former Spouse's share of a Read more . . .


Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Ex-Spouse Got Overpaid for Post-Divorce Spousal Maintance -- Can I Get Back the Overpayment?

Yes.  First, let's look at some definitions.  The "Obligor" is the person ordered to pay spousal maintenance.  The "Obligee" is the person receiving court-ordered spousal maintenance.



Read more . . .


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Can A Live-In Partner Get An Order for Maintenance?


Whether a live-in partner can get court-ordered maintenance after the relationship breaks up increasingly becomes an important questions.  According to a 2018 article in Psychology today, some 17.1 percent of women and 15.9 percent of men were cohabiting.

In Texas, the answer is "no.


Read more . . .


Monday, May 27, 2019

Can a Court Order Marriage Counseling Prior to Granting A Divorce?


Yes.  Texas Family Code Section 6.505 addresses this subject and provides the authority.

While a suit for divorce is pending, the Court may order the parties into marriage counseling with a person named by the Court. The counselor must submit a written report to the Court prior to a final hearing.  The only opinion the counselor may give in the report is whether a reasonable chance for reconciliation exits and, if so, whether additional counseling may prove beneficial.  A copy of the counselor's report must be given to each party/attorney of record. 


Read more . . .


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