It has already been proven that the mere fact of military service is not enough to prevent a a judge from awarding full custody. Similarly, a civilian parent cannot argue that he or she should be the custodial parent simply because they are not in the military. For example, a female service member seeking custody might argue that the military dependent family can take advantage of excellent child care, better school systems and a safe, supportive environment on base. Compared to civilian life, these advantages are very attractive because they are all available free of charge. Most consumer goods are also available at greatly reduced prices from the Post Exchange (PX) on base.
When awarding custody in a military divorce, it is important for both spouses to recognize that the needs of military service come first. As a result, spouses must remain cooperative with one another in the event of a sudden overseas deployment. That said, family court judges still must consider the best interest of the child in making a decision about custody in a military divorce. The courts may consider many factors, including each parent’s willingness to provide for the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual well-being. The demands of military service are only one factor of many that will be considered in a custody decision.
Sometimes a military divorce occurs when both parents are in the military, which can really throw a wrench into proposed parenting schedules. Fortunately, the military cooperates in cases where both parents are military service members by preventing their simultaneous deployment.
When a parent is deployed, a Department of Defense directive, requires service members, civilian military employees, and their family members who are outside the United States to comply with court orders requiring the return of minor children who are subject to a court order on custody or visitation.
There are many nuances in a military divorce that your attorney can explain in more detail. Before you move forward with a custody decision in a military divorce, make sure you avoid making assumptions. An experienced military divorce lawyer can help you come to an agreement on custody that works best for your family.