As a parent and a military service member, you serve your country to keep America safe for your children. There is nothing more important than spending time with your children. While divorce ends a marriage, it does not end your bond with your children or your rights and obligations to raise them. Divorce Lawyers For Military is dedicated to helping military parents during divorce to get the custody and visitation they deserve.
Child Custody Challenges of Military Service
Your military service duty may require you to be outside the state or even the country for extended periods of time. If your deployment involves prolonged, frequent, or unpredictable periods of separation from the children, your ex-spouse may challenge you over custody of the children.
In Washington, the legal term for full custody is “residential placement.” Courts can be reluctant to award residential placement to parents who are active military if they have an unpredictable schedule. This makes it challenging for service members to win full custody of their children.
We believe you should not be punished for choosing to dedicate your life to protecting our country.
Determining the Best Interests of the Child(ren)
Your self-sacrificing military service is heroic and should be recognized by the court. If you want full custody of your children, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights in court. The issue is, “What is in the best interest of the children?” Divorce Lawyers For Military attorneys work with our military clients to show the court why you will be the best care provider for your children and to get the best possible outcome in custody and visitation schedules.
Flexible Visitation Schedules
If your children do not live with you full time, you will probably want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. During the divorce process, you and your attorney will negotiate a Parenting Plan which will detail the visitation schedule.
Fair visitation can be challenging for service members. If you are active duty military, your schedule can be unpredictable. The fact that you don’t have a regular 9:00 to 5:00 schedule, does not mean you don’t deserve full visitation with your children. You need a lawyer experienced in the special needs of military members; a divorce attorney who will fight hard for a flexible schedule to make sure you can meet your service obligations and still spend precious time with your children on a regular basis. Divorce Lawyers For Military attorneys will work with you to develop the best possible custody and visitation plan based on your wishes and your military schedule and commitment.
Service Members Civil Relief Act Protection and Temporary Custody
The Service Members Civil Relief Act protects active duty service members from untimely litigation and default judgments, and it allows service members to request a 90-day stay (halting) of court proceedings. SCRA usually protects military members from default judgments in custody and support matters, but the protection is not absolute or automatic.
While courts are required to respect the provisions of SCRA, they must also consider the best interests of the children. During a divorce this can lead to a judge to rule in favor of one parent over the other, even while one spouse is serving out of state and unable to attend the hearing. In such cases, the court weighs the best interest of the children against the protections of SCRA. Only attorneys that fully understand SCRA can effectively fight for the protection our deployed service members deserve.
Only a divorce lawyer experienced in military divorce can properly argue that respecting SCRA is in the best interest of the children and their military parent. You can trust Divorce Lawyers For Military to work to ensure that inappropriate action is not taken in divorce court while you are deployed.
Assigning Visitation Rights
Military service members have a unique legal right in the state of Washington. As a service member, you can assign your visitation rights to another person while you are deployed. Washington law only provides this right to members of the military. This means that while you are away, your children may spend your visitation time with the person you designate. For example, this allows your mother, the children’s grandmother, to have your visitation while you are deployed.
While this is currently the law in Washington, it is a new and untested legal concept. Your ex-spouse may challenge your right to assign your visitation. Additionally, this law may not survive constitutional or Supreme Court challenges. You are likely to have greater success if the assignee of the visitation right is closely related to your children (such as an adult sibling or grandparent).
To ensure your visitation assignment is respected and your children are spending time with the person you designated, you need a Washington lawyer experienced in Military divorce.
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