Serviceman and women’s guide to divorce: Texas

“Texas attorney Matt Sossi goes over the applications of the UCCJEA and UIFSA that typically affect servicemen and woman when they file for divorce in the State of Texas.”

Servicemen quickly must understand the basics of the UCCJEA and the UIFSA to determine issues relating to custody, possession and access and child support.

#1.  Meeting the Jurisdictional Prerequisites to get a Divorce.

Servicemen and women must meet jurisdictional requirements of that State to file a divorce. Meeting the jurisdictional prerequisites to file for divorce does not guarantee that the court granting the divorce will also hear issues concerning custody, visitation or child support.  For example, if your child did not live in the State you are filing it for the past six months you most likely will only be able to get a divorce and not be able to obtain relief on any custody issues you may have.

#2.  Why are there different jurisdictional prerequisites for custody vs. child support?

A Texas court can only exercise jurisdiction (in the absence of an emergency)  over a child when there is a finding that it is the home state of the child.  Once the child’s home state is found that state has jurisdiction over custody and possession and access issues.

Jurisdiction over custody is granted pursuant to the UCCJEA.  A different statute, the UIFSA is used to determine jurisdiction over child support issues.

Child support requires personal jurisdiction to render orders for income withholding, etc. Personal jurisdiction over a serviceman or woman is obviously different than establishing a child’s home state based upon the number of months a child has lived in a given location.

#3.  Servicemen are presented with a multitude of scenarios that require them to answer the following questions when hiring an attorney:

Can I obtain a divorce in my home of residence?

Should I simply file for divorce in my spouse’s place of residence?

Which state should I pay child support?

#4.  Servicemen and woman must receive guidance on how child support obligation is calculated.  Child support may be calculated very differently between states across the U.S..  Texas, for example, has a statutory percentage that is presumed in all child support that is assessed.  Likewise, Maryland, Missouri or Minnesota calculate child support by reviewing each parents relative income.  Servicemen and women must understand how calculating child support is calculated based on state to state.  A serviceman or woman might be better off consenting to child support in a state that favors the lowest obligation possible.


Matt Sossi is a family law attorney practicing in San Antonio, Texas.  For more information visit his website at or send him an email at



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