Active-duty status makes divorce more difficult, especially if you are a parent. Many military service members have an uncertain living situation, making child custody a serious question.
If you are an active-duty military member, see below to learn how it affects child custody. Courts will put the best interest of your child first. However, you still have a say in the final arrangement.
Effects of deployment
According to Missouri statutes 452.413(3), deployment or the potential for deployment will not be the primary factor for permanently modifying a visitation or custody order. However, temporary modifications may occur. This temporary modification will provide that the deployed parent receives custody or visitation of the child during a leave, so long as it is in the child’s best interests.
Effects of relocating
Gaining primary or sole custody when relocating is difficult but not impossible. You must demonstrate how moving will benefit the child more than staying with the other parent. Sometimes the court will arrange for the child to visit the other parent during summer or other holidays. You may be able to have the child stay with you on a military base, but it is more common for the other parent to have primary custody during active service.
It may seem like the other parent has the advantage regarding custody arrangements. However, active-duty status does not prevent you from gaining at least partial custody. The state does not discriminate against servicemembers when it comes to parenting time. Still, the court will always put the child’s needs first, and the reality of serving affects the arrangement.