State & Federal Laws Protect Military Servicemembers’ Rights During Deployment
While some people are able to navigate the process with relative ease, most people find the mechanisms of divorce to be quite complex. This goes double, very often, for members of the military, simply because they must balance personal and professional factors at essentially every moment. Because of this, during deployment, state and federal law will often grant military personnel allowances that civilians might be denied, particularly during civil law proceedings like divorces. Consulting an attorney can help to clarify matters.
Delaying The Divorce
A military servicemember who is deployed overseas must focus their entire attention on the here and now, and this duty is seen as so important that it trumps other actions that might normally be seen as crucial. For example, in a standard civilian divorce, when one spouse files a petition for divorce, the other is given a short period of time (usually 30 days) in which they must respond to the filing, or they run the risk of a default judgment being issued against them.
This is not the case for military servicemembers who are deployed. A federal law called the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows that person to effectively postpone certain civil proceedings, including divorces, for the entire period of their deployment, plus 60 days after their return. It is possible for the servicemember to waive that right, but most of them choose not to, for the simple reason that they are not often able to respond to the court’s deadlines within the allotted window of time.
Parenting Time Options
The other way that divorce and its attendant issues are handled differently for servicemembers and civilians is in dealing with child custody, also referred to as parenting time or timesharing. While a permanent child custody arrangement cannot be altered while one parent is deployed, it is possible for temporary custody to be granted to the other parent (or to a non-parent, if both parents are servicemembers) if it is in the best interests of the child.
Another state of affairs that cannot be altered is the living situation of the children; just as with civilian families, one parent cannot simply choose to relocate with their child or children, unless they have the consent of the other parent. It is crucial to understand that both under state and federal law, the mere fact of one parent having to deploy cannot be considered when determining the best interests of the child – and thus, the non-deployed parent does not simply get carte blanche while their counterpart is away.
Contact A Hollywood, FL Military Divorce Attorney
Being deployed is a high-pressure situation, and the law allows a military servicemember to focus on it to the exclusion of all else. If you have questions or concerns about your rights while deployed, a Hollywood military divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. may be able to help get them managed. Contact our office today at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.