Moving through the end of a marriage is never a simple or easy process, and many Texas residents feel overwhelmed by all of the decisions that must be made in a relatively brief period of time. For those who are going through a military divorce, planning for the future should be a part of the decision-making process, including planning for retirement. The decisions made during the course of a divorce will have a big impact on the shape of future financial planning, and understanding the pros and cons of various choices can make it easier to choose the best path.
Texas couples are probably no longer surprised to hear statistics about high divorce rates in the country. They may even have their own opinions for the reasons why so many marriages end in divorce. With the high population of military families in Texas, many may assume that military divorce rates are even higher than those of the civilian population. A recent study shows this assumption is not far off the mark.
For many Texas spouses, strengthening their marital bond often occurs at the dinner table when they share the details of their days. Those daily experiences allow the spouses a glimpse into the time spent away from each other and provide a certain amount of decompression as the spouses express their feelings about the day's events. However, for those in the military, sharing details of daily events may not be possible, and this void may contribute to the high rate of military divorce.
Texas men and women who serve in the military have long protested laws regarding the division of their retirement pay during divorce. Military divorce comes with unique rules meant to protect both servicemembers and their civilian spouses, and this involves the splitting of military retirement pay by as much as 50 percent. Although states have some leeway in deciding how much a civilian spouse receives after a divorce, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may change that.
Men and women of Texas who serve proudly in the U.S. Armed Forces often accept that their military service complicates many areas of their lives. Many service members will agree that the part of life most seriously compromised by their military duties is their family life. The stress of deployment, unfamiliar environments, frequent moves and the resulting difficulty of forming lasting relationships all take their tolls on a marriage and family. Military divorce is a sad consequence of this stress.
No matter the circumstances, divorce is a disruption to any Texas family. Plans, routines and finances may be thrown into disarray for a period of time until disputes are settled and new systems are put into place. In a military divorce, however, there may be special considerations to make. Because of the delicate balance of family life and military service, couples going through a divorce may face unique complications.
Few people in Texas understand the stresses of a military marriage unless they have been inside one. Deployments, frequent moves and the emotional distance that belong to military life take their tolls on relationships. Because enduring a military divorce can be equally as stressful, family advocates urge spouses to try to work through the difficult times to preserve their marriages before seeking a divorce.
Divorce is seldom easy, no matter the circumstances. However, if one spouse serves in the military, there are special factors that can cause serious issues if both parties are not informed. The ramifications of military divorce for both the servicemember and the civilian spouse can be long-reaching, and understanding one's rights before the settlement is final can make a difference in one's future.
Many service members and their families retire here in Texas. If a couple's marriage does not last, all of the assets acquired or increased during the marriage are considered jointly owned under the state's community property law. This means that in a military divorce, the service member's spouse could have a right to a portion of his or her retirement pay.
By its very nature, being a member of the United States Armed Forces means that there will more than likely be changes in how service men and women live. For many military couples here in Texas and around the globe, change could include a military divorce. When children are involved, the service member could feel slighted when it comes to child custody because being deployed to another state, or even another country, is part of the commitment.