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Tessmer Tips / 23.08.2015

It's a beautiful day out.  You are in a great mood, on your way home from work, singing along to the radio.  Suddenly -- WHAM!  You are hit by another vehicle.  And just like that, your life is changed because you are hurt and can't work.  The medical bills start to pile up and your household bills fall behind.  It was not even your fault.   According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2013 there were 232,041 people injured in car accidents in the state of Texas.  1 person was killed every 2 hours and 36 minutes.  Those are staggering statistics.   Stay...

Tessmer Tips / 21.08.2015

The medical benefits program available to active duty service members, retirees, and family members is called TRICARE. After a divorce, a service member’s children continue to qualify for TRICARE. Unfortunately for civilian spouses, unless you meet some pretty stringent requirements, you will no longer qualify once you are divorced. You get to keep your TRICARE coverage only if all of the following things are true:   You do not qualify for health insurance through your own employment. You have not remarried. You meet the requirements of the 20/20/20 rule, meaning that you were married for at least 20 years, your spouse...

Tessmer Tips / 20.08.2015

In Texas, both child support and spousal support awards may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The normal Texas child support guidelines, worksheets and schedules are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid, but because military paychecks are unlike any other paychecks, it can be challenging to determine what a servicemember’s actual pay is. Start with the servicemember’s base salary. There is also a housing allowance, calculated using location, family commitments, and the servicemember’s pay grade. There are also pay differentials for hazardous assignments and other variations in responsibilities. It is...

Tessmer Tips / 19.08.2015

If you are in the military, the SCRA is your friend: it can prevent a judge from issuing court orders that could affect your relationship with your children. If you are the non-military spouse, you may feel upset by the delays, because the law gives servicemembers extra time to respond to legal proceedings and allows them to request hearings be postponed until the servicemember can be there. The entire divorce case may be delayed, causing it to take a lot longer to get to the final judgment. That said, there are often issues related to children that need to be...

Tessmer Tips / 18.08.2015

There are laws that protect an active duty soldier from being held in “default” for failing to respond to a divorce action. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), divorce proceedings may be postponed for the entire time an active duty servicemember is on duty and for up to 90 days thereafter.  An active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action in order for a Texas court to have jurisdiction.  In the case a divorce is uncontested, the active duty spouse may not have to be served if he or she...

Tessmer Tips / 16.08.2015

Family law matters concerning a member of the military create several unique issues compared to the typical civilian cases, as specific state and federal laws will apply. When one spouse (or both) are serving in the armed forces, a divorce is more complicated and there are different rules concerning jurisdiction, child custody, and health insurance and retirement benefits.  Servicemembers and civilian spouses should take the time to learn about the special issues involved in military family law matters and should seek an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable on the subject.   If you are one of the nearly 1.1 million active...