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Child Custody in a Military Divorce

Posted By Cairns Law Offices || 23-Aug-2016

When military families file for divorce, they have to figure out what's most important to them. Depending on their situation, it usually comes down to the children, spousal support, or the pension.

If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member and you're contemplating divorce, you will likely be most concerned about the above issues.

Who will have custody of the kids? How will the pension be divided? Will someone have to pay spousal support, and if so, how much will they have to pay?

Child custody, spousal support, and the pension – these are the three things that military couples are most concerned about, but for the purposes of this post we are going to focus on child custody.

Often, children are a big issue in a military divorce. As all military families know, frequent moves and long deployments are a part of the military lifestyle, so the parent who is frequently deployed is often at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody.

Deployments Often Impact Custody Decisions

Many military couples have young children and because of the frequent moves, the non-military spouse is a stay-at-home parent or underemployed, which typically means the service member is on the hook for spousal support in the event of a divorce.

Unfortunately, long deployments make it hard for military couples to stay connected emotionally and physically, and many of them end up getting divorced. Often, an active-duty husband will be frequently deployed while the wife will stay at home to care for the couple's young children.

The wife will not pursue a college education or a career because she moved around a lot and stayed at home with the children so her husband could have his military career. In these scenarios, the wife wants to ensure that she knows her rights and all that she's entitled to.

In the situation of a wife who stays at home to care for the couple's children while the husband is deployed, child custody is not usually an issue. The husband's job in the military causes him to deploy regularly so he is unlikely to seek sole or primary custody of the couple's children.

In fact, it's not unusual for a non-military spouse to ask for more child support because of their husband's or wife's frequent deployments. Frequent deployments also make it more difficult for a military spouse to obtain full custody of their children. Usually, a judge will feel that it's in the best interests of the children to live with a parent who is not going to deploy.

If you, or your spouse are in the military and you're seeking a divorce, contact Cairns Law Offices to learn about our affordable, no-fault divorce services!