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Are active-duty service members protected in child custody cases?

Service members are well-respected throughout the United States. However, the military is an especially difficult line of work because of the possibility of deployment. During a deployment, a service member lives away from their spouse and children, which could create tension and stress in their marriage. In some cases, it even leads to divorce.

Deployment complicates child custody and visitation agreements for many families. The number of military families continues to increase. If their marriage doesn’t work out as planned, these families face complicated child custody battles and cases.

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

According to Military One Source, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act considers whether a service member has been called to active duty. In child custody battles, this act protects the rights of the those in the military who are already deployed or face deployment.

Who exactly is protected?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act strives to protect active military servicemen and women, but there are specific people the act applies to. These include the following:

  • Reserve members summoned to active duty
  • Full-time active-duty service members in all five military branches
  • National Guard servicemen and women when federal orders call them to active duty

The act focuses on different groups, but the main stipulation is that you must be a full-time active member in one of the five military branches, a reservist called to active duty by federal orders or a National Guard service member following federal orders for longer than 30 days.

What does the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allow you to do?

The most important assistance the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can provide you with is the ability to postpone court hearings, granted your military duties interfere with your case. You can also write to the court requesting an automatic stay, or hold, on your case for 90 days.

Deployment of active duty service members can complicate your divorce and child custody case. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act offers you some protection of your rights. Due to the complicated nature of a military divorce, consulting an attorney well-versed in the subject matter could be helpful.

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