Virginia servicemen: Deployment and child custody issues
Living a life in the military can be an interesting experience. When servicemembers are deployed, they might get the opportunity to see different areas. In most cases, these deployments aren't stateside, so lengthy travel times are possible. This also makes it virtually impossible for servicemembers to return stateside for court hearings and other events very difficult. For those who are serving on submarines, there really isn't a possible way to head back to the states quickly since that would involve the submarine surfacing and making it to port.
These are all some of the reasons why the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is in place. This act, which might interest readers in Virginia, gives people who are actively deployed a small bit of peace during an already stressful time. It temporarily halts civil proceedings that could have a negative impact on the servicemember. In the case of child custody matters, the SCRA gives 90-day window for the servicemember to appear in the case.
Despite the small measure of comfort that gives, it doesn't provide help for servicemembers who are fighting child custody issues in which the other parent is using deployments against them. A recent measure that passed the House but is awaiting approval from the Senate would add an extra layer of protection for deployed servicemen and women. The National Defense Authorization Act would prevent current or future deployments from being used as the basis for any decision related to child custody.
Anyone who is facing child custody issues while in the military likely knows the difficulties in going through these proceedings while serving. Knowing your rights and learning about the special provisions for military members might help you as you go through these.
Source: Marine Corps Times, "Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment" Lance M. Bacon, Jul. 05, 2014
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