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Family Law

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 . . .


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Is There a Cap to Child Support in Texas Divorce?


In the vast majority of cases, the answer to whether there is a "cap" to child support in divorce is, "yes."  The Texas Family Code caps "net resources" available for child support at $8,550.00.  In determining "net resources," the Family Code includes the following:

  1. Wages, salary, commissions, overtime pay, tips and bonuses;
  2. Interests, dividends, and royalties;
  3. Self-employment income;
  4. Severance pay, retirement benefits, Social Security benefits (other than Supplemental Security Income or SSI), and VA disability compensation.

In Texas, if one child is at issue (and assuming the paying parent has no other children from prior marriages or relationships for which that parent has a legal duty of support), child support is as follows:

  1. One child: 20% of net resources, which equals $1,710.

Read more . . .


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Pre-Divorce Designation of Spouse as Life Insurance Beneficiary

If your spouse is designated as your life insurance beneficiary, and you later divorce, the Texas Family Code establishes that your now ex-spouse will not be treated as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, unless one of three conditions exist:1

  1. Your decree of divorce names the ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy;
  2.  You re-designate your ex-spouse as your beneficiary after the divorce; or,
  3.  Your ex-spouse is designated to receive your life insurance proceeds in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a child or dependent of yours or your former spouse.

The provision above does not apply to life insurance policies provided by the Federal Government.2  For example, if a Servicemember divorces, later remarries and neglects to name his new spouse instead of his ex-spouse as his Servicemember's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) beneficiary, the ex-spouse will receive the life insurance proceeds because that person is the named beneficiary.3


Read more . . .


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Military Divorce and Changes to VA Disability Compensation


In military divorce, a Servicemember receiving VA Disability Compensation must remember to notify the VA that they no longer have a spouse.  This is done using VA Form 21-686c, which is available on the VA's website (i.e. enter "VA Form 21-686c" into your browser's search and download the form from the VA's website).  The form includes the mailing address to which the Servicemember should mail the form to the VA.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 18, 2019

Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan Premiums (RCSBP) vs. Active Duty SBP Premiums


Active duty retirees are eligible for retired pay immediately upon retirement.  When a Spouse or Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuity has been elected or court-ordered, premiums are deducted from each month's retired pay.  Premiums for active duty retirees are 6.5% of the "base amount."  The base amount is the amount of retired pay insured, which typically is the retirees gross retired pay.


Read more . . .


Monday, January 7, 2019

Military Divorce - Former Spouse Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Time Lines


Since Former Spouse retired pay terminates on the death of the Servicemember, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) is a purchased annuity that provides a monthly payment the partially, wholly or exceeds the Former Spouse's retired pay.  When divorce occurs prior to the Servicemember's eligibility for retirement, the divorce decree must order the Servicemember to elect the Former Spouse as the SBP beneficiary.  Often the decree also orders the Former Spouse to effect a "deemed election" by submitting an appropriate application within one year of the date of divorce.  If the Former Spouse fails to effect a deemed election within one year of the date of divorce, the Servicemember may elect to provide SBP to the Former Spouse at time of retirement out-processing.  It is not uncommon for Servicemember's to be asked to submit copies of any divorce decrees in concert with retirement out-processing to check for any such court-ordered obligations.


Read more . . .


Friday, December 28, 2018

Legislative Threat to Texas "No Fault" Divorce


In the current Texas Legislative session, House Bill 93 would repeal the "no-fault" divorce provision in the Texas Family Code (i.e. repeal the "insupportabiity" ground for divorce, which only requires testimony of one spouse that the legitimate aims of marriage have been destroyed and there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation).  The Texas State Bar took a survey of Texas attorneys on their  perspective on whether Texas should repeal the "no-fault" divorce provision and what it might mean.  The survey results included the following:

  • 93% of attorneys who responded to the survey opposed the repeal of the no-fault divorce provision.

Read more . . .


Monday, December 17, 2018

Retiree COLA for January 1, 2019

Most military retirees, Federal civil service retirees and recipients of VA disability compensation will receive a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment in their payments due on or about January 1, 2019 and throughout 2019.

 


Read more . . .


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