Custody agreements that involve active duty military service members are complex matters. There are issues that must be addressed in addition to the usual visitation and custodial schedules within a typical settlement agreement.
When a child has one parent who is a military service member, the possibility of that parent becoming deployed for months, or even years at a time are very real. Therefore, it is crucial that plans are in place for the child to have a proper caregiver while that parent is away. If the military parent is awarded sole or joint custody, then it is best to create a family care plan that dictates who will provide for the child while the military parent is away. Having this plan helps explain to caregivers in detail what steps need to be taken during a time when things are likely hectic and uncertain.
Due to frequent relocations or deployments in military families, relationships sometimes become broken. This may justify a custody modification. Every state has laws in place that allow active duty military service members to request a stay of at least 90 days on any ongoing custody proceedings. This prevents a parent from being able to obtain sole custody while the other is away. The stay may also be extended beyond 90 days, up until the day the member returns from duty.
An active duty military service member who is involved in a custody dispute while deployed or preparing to deploy can benefit from retaining the services of an attorney. Someone who is familiar with these types of issues can file a stay on the member’s behalf and help ensure a child is well taken care of. While deployed, a soldier should be able to keep his mind fully trained on the task at hand. Then, when back to safety, he or she can attend to custodial proceedings. It is always good to know someone has your back at home, while you have ours away.