Whatever branch you serve in, you understand that the responsibilities associated with military life often mean making personal sacrifices, especially when it comes to family. If you are facing divorce, you may worry that your status as an active-duty or deployable service member means that the court will automatically disqualify you for full custody of your children.
However, the U.S. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides important protections during a divorce. Under the SCRA, you may be able to delay divorce proceedings until your deployment is complete. Additionally, the SCRA may protect you from a default judgment by the court when it comes to deciding custody issues.
Protections against default judgments
Under the SCRA, the court may not automatically bar you from receiving custody based on the sole factor of your active-duty or deployable status. Rather, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of your children when determining whether you and your future ex-spouse will share legal and/or physical custody.
Delaying divorce proceedings
The SCRA also allows you to postpone divorce proceedings while you are on active duty, and for a short period after your return from deployment, if you wish.
Improving your chances of gaining custody
Delaying your divorce may give you the time you need to prepare a detailed childcare plan for the court that demonstrates that you will be able to provide needed parental support once you have completed active duty.
However, keep in mind that you may also be able to modify custody arrangements at a later date. For instance, you may be able to seek increased custody or visitation rights once you are no longer deployed or expecting deployment.