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How Does Child Custody Work When an Ex-Spouse Is in the Military?

 Posted on January 10, 2024 in Military Family Law

TX family lawyerGetting divorced when one parent serves full-time in the military adds extra layers of complexity for establishing child custody. On top of normal custody factors, you must consider the service member’s duty stationing, deployment status, and frequent relocation. It is beneficial to understand how child custody considerations differ for military families, and a Texas divorce lawyer can help you figure this out.

Jurisdiction and Governing Laws

The state holding jurisdiction over your child custody case depends on your child’s home state residence. The Service Members Civil Relief Act allows the service member to keep permanent residence status in one state even when temporarily stationed elsewhere.

Some divorces fall under military jurisdiction according to the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Others stay at the state level based on the children’s primary home location for the past six months. Courts also weigh when to apply state laws vs. federal regulations governing custody involving military members.

Deployment Considerations

Judges factor in the realistic custody rights and access a military member can exercise when determining arrangements. A service member’s recurring temporary duties, training, or deployment may severely curtail their hands-on parenting time.

So primary custody often defaults to the more stable, consistently present parent. However, the courts seek balance by maximizing visitation for service members between deployments. Judges also assess how to mitigate disruption to children’s schooling, community ties and relationships from moving repeatedly.

Relocation Provisions

Given higher mobility patterns for military families, custody orders outline specialized relocation rules. These aim to preserve both parents’ rights despite frequent out-of-state moves, including:

  • Notice periods for changing residence and transition logistics planning
  • Minimum alternative visitation rights provisions during relocations
  • Specifications on virtual parenting communication tools and access

Building in such relocation safeguards upfront reduces confusion down the road when duty stations change.

Modifying Orders

The transient nature of military life frequently necessitates amending custody orders later to adjust to new duty locations and deployment schedules. Most original settlements incorporate stipulations simplifying modification processes between the parents without judicial intervention.

Contact a Denton County, TX, Divorce Lawyer

Navigating custody issues in combination with military service can pose added hurdles. Having a Frisco, TX, divorce attorney on your side can make you more familiar with military family intricacies and offer invaluable guidance. Call The Law Office of Linda Risinger at 972-294-6533 for a free consultation.

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