San Antonio Military Divorce Attorney

Though no divorce is ever easy, divorces involving members of the military can be especially complicated, with unique issues and nuances not seen in other types of cases. As a longtime San Antonio military divorce attorney, Jennifer Espronceda understands these distinct challenges and has the knowledge, expertise, and experience to help you and your loved ones overcome them.

The Biggest Issue: Where to File

When you or your spouse are a member of the military, you have a challenge right from the outset of your divorce: which state should you file in?

As military members are often moved about the country (or even world), so you might be quite far from the place you legally got married. If you or your spouse has moved recently, you may also have different states of residence.

So where should you file? If you’re the person initiating the divorce, you’ll file your papers in the state you currently live – even if that’s not the same state as your spouse. So, for example, if you’re currently living in Texas and filing for divorce from your spouse in Arizona, you’d find a San Antonio military divorce attorney and file your papers here, in the Lone Star State. Your spouse would then hire their own legal representation in the state in which they reside.

An important note about residency: According to federal law, military pensions are divided up per the laws of the military member’s legal state of residence. So if the military member is not the one initiating the divorce, their pension will be divvied up per their state’s laws.

Other Common Legal Issues in Military Divorce

As a San Antonio military divorce attorney, Jennifer Espronceda has seen her fair share of unique issues and challenges in cases of military divorce.

Here are some of the most common ones you’ll want to prepare for:

  • Delayed proceedings – If a military member is the one being served the divorce papers, they may be unable to file a formal response or attend court hearings for significant periods of time. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, the military member can even request a “stay” on the case, which puts the proceedings on hold for at least 90 days. They can request extensions after that, should they still be on duty or unable to leave their post.
  • Military lawyers – Military members do have access to legal counsel, but these attorneys cannot represent you or your spouse in a formal divorce proceeding. They can provide guidance on certain issues, but because they are often assigned to an entire base, they typically have a full plate of clients and members to serve and may be short on time.
  • Child support – Child support is calculated based on the military member’s base pay, allowance for housing, subsistence allowance, special pay and other benefits, and will usually follow the state’s guidelines. If a stay has been issued on the case, you may be able to request support from your spouse’s military branch or base.
  • Military pensions – In a military divorce, both parties are entitled to a share of the service member’s military pension. Courts can divide pensions up however they see fit, though unless the marriage was 10 years or more, the pension payments will need to be made directly from the military spouse to the other. If the marriage was 10 years or longer, the pension payments will be issued by the appropriate military branch’s retired pay center.

As you can see, military divorces come with a wide variety of unique challenges and issues. Want to make sure your family, assets and best interests are protected? Contact Espronceda today! She is an experienced San Antonio military divorce attorney who will guide you through every critical step of the divorce process.