On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in divorce on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
Being a member of the U.S. armed services is likely a source of pride for you. However, it may also be a source of contention in your family, especially if it means you spend long periods of time away from home. Like many marriages of servicemembers, yours may not have survived the challenges of military life, and now how your divorce will affect your relationship with your children concerns you.
The best-case scenario is that you and your spouse arrived at an agreeable arrangement for custody that provides generous time with your children, while you are not unavailable because of your military duties. However, you certainly want a thorough understanding of your rights and the protections you have under the law.
Protecting your custody rights
Many of the issues that concern servicemembers are different from those of co-parents in other lines of work. Your deployment or relocation may significantly affect your child custody arrangements, and having a family care plan in place is something that family advocates recommend. This plan outlines the financial and medical arrangements you make for your children while you are away. It may also go into detail about the normal routines you have established with your children so that others can work to maintain those rituals.
If your service obligates you to relocate, or if your ex-spouse attempts to relocate, you may require legal assistance to protect your rights. In Kentucky and other states, the following may be true:
Family courts make the final decision about whether a parent can relocate with a child.
You may have to prove to the court that your child will benefit from your planned move.
Seeking assistance from an attorney is wise if you wish to relocate or if you suspect your co-parent is attempting to relocate with your child.
Because of your special circumstances, the law protects you from many civil actions that may take place while you are on active duty. In other words, if your spouse attempts to move forward with efforts to modify your child custody rights or relocate with your child while you are unable to participate because of your military duties, the law may grant a stay or postponement if you request one in writing. This is typically 90 days, but you may receive an extension.
Your child will likely benefit from a strong and solid relationship with you. Your service to this country should not jeopardize that relationship. Knowing your rights and finding a dedicated legal ally will provide you with a definite advantage.