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Military Divorce

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 . . .


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 . . .


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