Many Washington households include family members who are in the military. Just as in non-military families, many of those marriages don’t last. A military divorce can be stressful, particularly regarding child custody, and keeping several practical tips in mind from the start may help avoid confusion or disputes.
If a parent who has physical custody of his or her children is also the parent who is in the military, he or she will want to make sure to update a family care plan in divorce. Especially if there is a remarriage, the terms of the family care plan may have significant impact on the children’s daily lives if their custodial parent deploys. In addition to a military family care plan, divorced parents may also have a child custody order in place.
The terms of a family care plan can be incorporated into the custody order. Provisions regarding military relocation, deployment and other topics can be addressed so that both parents clearly understand and agree where the children will live and who will care for them if their military parent must serve a deployment abroad. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects the legal rights of parents serving overseas.
Under protection of the SCRA, a parent in the process of military divorce or one who is dealing with child custody issues after divorce may request a postponement of legal or administrative proceedings during deployment. This means if the non-military parent attempts to seek modification of a child custody order while the military parent is deployed, the latter can invoke his or her rights under SCRA due to the fact that he or she cannot be present for court proceedings. If a Washington parent has questions about military divorce regarding custody, alimony, deployment or issues pertaining to the SCRA, he or she may seek answers by requesting a meeting with an attorney who has experience in providing support to military families.