Family law matters can proceed quite differently in the military from what is often in the case in the civilian world.
Child custody is a case in point, especially given the added dimension to the topic that often features because of a servicemember’s relocation.
In military parlance, that is called deployment, with the bottom line being that such a move is often for a lengthy period and to a remote destination.
For a divorced couple, that extreme separation can obviously spell some real difficulties concerning child custody, support and other matters. Disruptions in payments, common understandings and procedures can result, with one parent’s inability to respond readily to court summons and other directives often being problematic.
Federal legislation entitled the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act seeks to respond to some of the singular considerations involved in military family law, providing for temporary suspension of proceedings owing to disruptions like deployments.
As recently noted in regard to a high-profile military custody case, though, that law does not seamlessly protect servicemembers’ rights, and some national legislators are calling for enhancements.
Some readers might already be well familiar with the recent case of a Navy seaman, whose deployment on a nuclear submarine precluded him from appearing at a court proceeding. As a result of that no-show, the judge threatened him with arrest and the potential loss of his custody rights concerning his daughter.
Public outcry understandably resulted, and the judge backtracked, saying that she was not apprised of the seaman’s deployment.
Family law matters can often take singular twists and turns in the military. An experienced military divorce attorney can answer questions and provide proven representation in any family law-related matter.
Source: Army Times, “Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment,” Lance M. Bacon, July 5, 2014