Family Matters

Resources on divorces, child support, adoption, custody, domestic violence, and estate planning.

Paperwork for complicated divorce?


Hi Jim, I’m currently going through a divorce and I’m at a loss as to where to look for denial of paternity paperwork I signed for eons ago in Texas. I don’t have a lawyer and am doing all the foot work myself. Would you have any idea where to get this paperwork? P.S. I’ve tried the hospital, vital statistics, and attorney generals child support office. They can see the paperwork, but they can’t give it to me.


Jim's Reply:

This is a new one on me and I've done just a bit of research and it appears that the Texas Department of Vital Statistics isn't required to provide you with any data.

See Sec. 160.412.  at

That's about all I have to offer. You really need to speak with an attorney before you get over your head with a DIY divorce. I'm all for no fault and DIY until a complication is known and then you need to bring in an expert.

Good luck.


Married with Benefits



I am 65, have been on TDIU P&T for 10 years, and am considering getting married. I know the 10 year and married thing for DIC, my question is does my spouse rate my 100% or not in the event of my death? Thanks a lot!


Jim's Reply:

A surviving spouse does not receive a 100% rated veterans benefits at the time of his death. Depending on the circumstances the surviving spouse may be eligible for the DIC benefit

For your spouse to be eligible you'll need to have been married at least one year. Since you've been rated as 100% for over ten years you can die of any cause and she'll be eligible.


P.S. From StatesideLegal:

Here is a great page on StatesideLegal that explains eligibility for DIC.  We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck!

Blue Water benefits for a spouse of a deceased veteran?


Jim, I have a friend who died of a heart attack a few years ago. I believe he was a Blue Water vet. If that's the case, can his wife apply for any kind of VA benefits? Thanks for your help.


Jim's Reply:

Maybe, maybe not. If there is proof your friend was Blue Water Navy and if you can produce documentation that the cause of death was a heart attack caused by ischemic heart disease then there is a very slight possibility of a claim developing from that. But I'd have to give the chances of something coming together at this late date as very slim indeed. There's never any harm in trying so go for it.

Good luck.




Married to a veteran for 18 years. I’m listed as a dependent/wife on paperwork during the time he was compassionated back pay from 2012 to present. Now he wants a divorce. Am I entitled to any benefits since now he has a 100% rating?


Jim's Reply:

In any divorce action each party will be entitled to what the law and the court decide they will have, nothing more, nothing less. Many military and veteran spouses enter divorce believing all the things their former partner tells them, most of which aren't true. 

The court will require each of you to complete a financial statement and from that information the judge will use the law to determine who owes what to who. Disability payments from VA are part of that overall income, those benefits are not protected during divorce.

Good luck.


A bearded white man standing in a field, holding a young child on his shoulders

TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families)

TANF provides a basic monthly income to families who have few other resources. The program used to be called AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). It may be called something else in your state.
A blue tinted simplfied continent outline map of the world

The Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Convention)

Learn more about how to use this treaty as military personnel.
A photo of people, from the knees down, wearing camoflague uniforms and tan combat boots.

Military Acronym User-Guide

Military jargon involves numerous acronyms. In order to assist you, we have provided this acronym guide for your easy reference. The acronyms selected are those we found to be the most common when addressing legal issues for servicemembers, veterans and their families.

A computer generated image of a series of papers layered on top of each other. The top paper is a check list with red check-marks on it.

Sample SF-180

A sample version of form SF-180: Request Pertaining to Military Records
A scale on a table in a courtroom

Postponing a Lawsuit Against You

What if I am sued while on active duty?

Domestic Violence and Alleged Abusers

Despite the need to access weaponry, servicemembers who have engaged in certain acts, such as perpetrating domestic violence against an intimate partner or being convicted of a felony, may be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.