Raising children together after a divorce has many nuances. Couples must learn to communicate effectively and cooperate to help their children grow healthy and emotionally strong. They must also be willing to sacrifice some things and be flexible about many matters. For military personnel and their spouses in California, navigating child custody issues also involves considering factors particular to military life.
Custodial issues and military resources
Child custody matters are determined according to state law. However, for military servicemembers and their ex-spouses, there will be some additional concerns that they need to address. These include:
- Determining who will be responsible for the children’s financial, medical and logistical needs if the servicemember deploys or needs to relocate
- Creating a family care plan that incorporates all this information and clearly lays out the details of co-parenting the children
- Understanding the legislation available to protect their rights of servicemembers and their spouses when it comes to child custody matters
What if a servicemember parent needs to relocate or deploy?
If the servicemember is seeking to relocate, they first should be guided by their child custody order, which might have a provision addressing it. If not, they will have to seek a modification to the order and normally, they must provide evidence for the reason for the move and the possible impact on the children. Additionally, if they are deployed or called to active duty, their co-parent cannot change the terms of the custody agreement during the deployment as their service cannot be the sole reason for a requested change of custody terms. Finally, once a parent returns from deployment, the original custody order must once again be followed.
Through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and other legal assistance programs in the military, both servicemembers and their spouse have available resources to help them understand their rights as parents. Understanding the legislation and the resources available can also help you protect the best interests of your children.