Those in the military are just as probable to see divorce as any other individual. According to the Pentagon, 21,290 of 689,060 married service members got a divorce in 2017. Many service members are married and have children, so when a divorce does occur, child custody issues can be involved. If you are an active service member, going through the child custody process can bring about some questions that regular individuals may not have. Here is a look at some of what you should know about child custody cases when you are an active service member in the military.
You should not be treated any differently because of your service status
It is actually against the law for military parents to be treated differently when they go to family court for a child custody case. In fact, there are some states that will not allow one parent to seek full custody simply on the basis that the other parent is in the military or deployed. Therefore, you should not be too concerned about losing custody of your child through a separation merely because you are an active service member.
Your ex can't try to take custody while you are deployed
In the event that your ex tries to file for custody of your child or children while you are deployed, they can't get very far with doing so. People in the military are protected from civil matters while they are deployed thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA includes a protection known as a stay of proceedings, which basically means any motion filed while you are deployed will be frozen temporarily in most cases. If your ex tries to file for custody while you are deployed, you will be notified, but the case will not proceed until you return home.
You and your ex may have to agree on a custody plan if both of you are deployed
If you and your ex-spouse are both active military members and are both deployed, your child custody case is a bit unique because neither parent will be able to be the caretaker of the child temporarily. Before you go before a judge, there will be a few options the two of you have. You will either have to agree on a temporary custody arrangement with one person or you will have to create a custody plan with visitation rights among more than one caregiver.
For more information, contact a family law attorney that has experience with military cases.