Military Service and Divorce

Wed 23rd August, 2023 General

U.S. Federal law has developed to protect military members in various ways. One way that those who are actively serving our country benefit from the law is by receiving special protections in divorce and custody proceedings. These special protections can affect the timelines and handling of divorce and child custody hearings in specific ways.

Will My Service Affect My Divorce or Custody Rights?

Any military family can attest to the fact that active military service interferes with the amount of time you are able to spend with your children. It is just one of the facts of duty. But the courts recognize that parents are absent due to performing service to their country. Accordingly, the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) was implemented in order to help service men and women protect their position in a divorce and protect custody rights while in the service.

The Uniform Law Commission describes the UDPCVA as a set of standards and procedures that work to resolve both custody and visitation issues that often affect military personnel and their families. This law is not only observed or beholden in one state but has far reach into intrastate, interstate cases. It may even be applied, in some situations, at an international level. 

This means that no matter your deployment status, servicemembers may rely upon certain protections that have been implemented to help you maintain and continue a parent/child relationship.

How the Law May Affect My Case

Above is only a brief discussion of one law implemented to serve servicemembers. Others exist. For specific advice pertaining to you and the specific circumstances of your case, it is always wise to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney.

The law’s effect on your life and on your case will vary significantly dependent on the circumstances of your case and on what steps are taken by each side. For example, there is another law, the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act, that acts to suspend various civil obligations that servicemembers would ordinarily be under. The act was implemented to enable servicemembers to devote their time and focus to the service. However, this means that they have certain protections and automatic stays that can affect divorce and custody proceedings.

For example, say that a military spouse files for divorce and custody of their minor child while their spouse is deployed on active duty. Stays – or mandated pauses – should be expected in the case. These stays are meant to give the servicemember adequate time to become aware of the legal proceedings being filed and time to take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect their interests in the case. What this boils down to, for the other spouse, is that divorce and custody issues with military servicemembers can be a much longer process than one might expect if neither spouse was a member of the military. This is not an insurmountable obstacle to any divorce or custody action, but certainly something that military families should be aware of.

Contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler

Our practice was built on achieving results. Our experienced divorce counsel can provide you with skillful guidance and help you navigate through even the toughest divorce issues. Contact our office today to discuss the specifics of your unique case.