Common Divorce and Child Custody Issues Facing Military Members

Being in the military can create some unique issues for service members, their spouses, and their exes.

Lengthy overseas deployments:

A lengthy overseas deployment can have a dramatic impact on child custody and even child support orders.  California law helps service members to some degree by forbidding the courts from looking negatively against a servicemember that has been ordered on deployment related to child custody proceedings.  Overseas deployments often come with a temporary bump in pay while away.  These bumps in pay and temporary absence from children’s lives can be a basis for the parent remaining behind with the children to increase child support payments.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act aka SCRA:

The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides military members certain protections during law suits such as as divorce or custody matters.  Most notably the default of a servicemember cannot be taken without first appointing an attorney to try to contact them and explain the case, meaning someone cannot sneak in a divorce while someone is deployed.  The servicemember may also seek a delay in the proceedings for a certain amount of time so they may participate adequately after their return from duty.  Although the SCRA provides much protection for servicemembers it is not unlimited; therefore, if you receive notice of a lawsuit you should still contact an attorney as quickly as possible to protect your rights.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders:

A domestic violence restraining order traditionally carries with it a prohibition on the possession and ownership of firearms. Clearly, this restriction on a military member could negate their core job duties. Persons asking for a restraining order against a military member, especially one dependent on them for support, should be mindful of the possible repercussions of requesting a ban on their possession of firearms.

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