A Disabled Veteran Claims Misrepresentation in Texas Divorce
On September 10, 2013, The Washington Times posted a letter from a 100% disabled veteran claiming he: was not represented in his military divorce proceedings in Texas, has spent $12,000 in attorney fees trying to make corrections on spouse benefits, and cannot afford to pay anymore legal fees. What should he do next?
He asked for help with three questions regarding the USFSPA and his disabled veteran compensation:
- Since I did not give C-4 approval for the court to give her my retirement, was it legal for her to take half. I tried to fight this, but I had no money for an attorney and lived out-of-state.
- Since I am 100 percent military disabled for the last two years, is there any way I can get someone to help me get my full retirement back. I did not agree with her taking it, or the authority of the court to split it up and give it to her?
- Due to my disability, does this make me eligible for special services where I could get help from military counsel to get my name off her mortgage before she goes to prison and forces that house to go into default.
My current wife is writing this for me as this matter gets me so triggered, I end up dissociated to where I get too stressed to think or type and then have nightmares after I even try to deal with it. Can you help? see Divorced Veteran Seeks Help Getting Full Retirement Benefits Back
Has a similar situation happened to you? Are you spending dollars with no answers received? No veteran or spouse, whether disabled or not should be left wondering if an injustice was made.
If we make the assumption that the lawyers did their jobs and the court order was written properly, we would expect one of these four lawyers would have been able to help explain disability compensation and how it played a role in this Texas divorce. Military retirement pay is divisible in Texas.
Fire your Military Lawyer?
And let’s talk about the… FOUR lawyers? Finding the right person with the knowledge, skills, and experience can be difficult. While divorce is brand new to the service member and spouse, the fact is—we (the spouse and service member) are in control, and sometimes, the boss has to fire the hired help. Remember that you have the power to fire your attorney.
Even when an attorney gives answers you disagree with, you should have a better understanding of how the law is written and being applied. This should help you accept the terms of your decree and provide some peace of mind to move forward with your life. The worst thing is to wake up daily believing an unfair inequitable decision has been made. See our growing list of articles on issues surrounding disability pay.
Disabled Veteran Divorce Help
The service member’s letter criticized the actions of his wife, but gave no specifics on whether there was an indemnifcation clause, when the disability was declared (before or after finalizing the decree), the overlap of service and marriage and so on. So, it’s not surprising the advice in general was:
- 1. Seek help; try your local military station’s legal office
- 2. Approach the VA for a referral
- 3. Ask your local or county government services office for recommendations
- 4. Run a Google Search military specialists (lawyers and attorneys) in your state
- 5. Call veteran service offices such as the American Legion, VFW or Disabled American Veterans
This is probably not quite what the veteran was looking for. This equates to time (a lot of time reviewing disability compensation and discussing the current or draft decree) and in most cases, money (the veteran didn’t want to spend more dollars). These are good places to start. Since every divorce case is unique its own way, it becomes difficult to evaluate and answer specific cases in short Q&A summaries.
Military Divorce Tips can save you time with lawyers because in addition to the explanations, footnotes will send you to legal references online. This is a good place to start understanding how spouse benefits are handled in your current or upcoming divorce decree. Every hour you spend educating yourself, saves you time and money spent on your attorney.
No one knows your case better than you. You may have to point out some issues, concerns, or possible alternatives to your lawyer. Don’t be hesitant to speak up.
What has been your experience with disability compensation? Tell your thoughts in the comments below.