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Family Law

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Military Divorce and Former Spouse Retired Pay: Situations Where DFAS Might Be Unable to Make Full Payment

When facing military divorce, there are two scenarios where the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) might be unable to make full payment to a former spouse.  The first scenario is where the Servicemember's retired pay is subject to garnishment for more than one former spouse's retired pay entitlement.  The second scenario is where the Servicemember's military retired pay is subject to garnishment for both former spouse retired pay and child support.

In the first scenario, with multiple former spouses entitled to retired pay, the most that DFAS can garnish is 50% of the Servicemember's retired pay.  Garnishment orders are processed by DFAS on a first come, first served basis until the cap is reached.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Collaborative Divorce – An Alternative to Contested Litigation


The collaborative divorce model is an alternative to traditional “contested litigation” in that it is based on resolving a divorce using open discussion and cooperation in a private environment.  The Collaborative Family Law Act is specified in Chapter 15 of the Texas Family Code.  In collaborative divorce, each party is represented by his or her own attorney, and major aspects of the process include the following:

  • Signing of a collaborative family law participation agreement and filing it with the court.
  • The agreement includes each party’s commitment not to use court hearings to resolve issues.
  • Rather, issues are resolved based on a series of informal meetings among the two parties and their respective attorneys where information is exchanged without formal discovery processes.

Read more . . .


Sunday, October 2, 2016

How Does the Servicemember Recoup the Former Spouse's Share of Retired Pay if the Former Spouse Dies First?


When a former spouse (FS) passes away, how long does it take for the retired servicemember (SM) to recover the FS's share of retired pay?   As discussed in a previous blog, a FS's share of military retired pay will only terminate in one of two ways:
  1. On the death of the FS, or
  2. On death of the SM.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Basic Employee Death Benefit


In our previous blog about Federal Civil Service Divorce, we discussed that the Employee must have at least 10 years of creditable service before a Former Spouse qualifies in divorce for award of a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA).  To read that blog,


Read more . . .


Monday, September 12, 2016

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Former Spouse Survivor Annity (FSSA) Qualification


In a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) divorce, the former spouse’s share of the Employee’s annuity stops on the death of the Employee.  Award of a

Read more . . .


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Military Relocation (i.e. PCS) Does Not Require the Military Member or Spouse to Change Domicile


Military members and their spouses do not automatically acquire a new “domicile” when the relocate (“PCS”) to a new duty station in a new State. 

First, let’s distinguish the terms “residence” from “domicile.”  A residence is an address or place where you live.  A domicile is the one residence that you consider to be your permanent home.  To better understand the concept, think of the rich and famous.


Read more . . .


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, 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 . . .


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