The Texas Supreme Court decided in a 1979 case that involuntary separation pay is not community property and, therefore, not divisible in divorce. In its decision, the Supreme Court rejected the former spouse’s argument that involuntary separation pay is a property right that, like military retired pay, should be divided based on the length of the marriage-military service overlap. Upon reviewing the Congressional legislative history on the matter, the Supreme Court concluded that Congress intended involuntary separation pay as an unearned gratuity–akin to a a gift, which makes it the servicemember’s separate property.
Whether you are the servicemember or spouse, there are many unique issues that distinguish military divorce from a “civilian” divorce. For questions on this or other related topics, speak with a qualified military divorce attorney.
Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm. The Cramp Law Firm provides a spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region.
Note: For attorneys, this blog post is based on the case, Perez v. Perez, 587 S.W.2d 671, 672 (Tex. 1979).