The Law offices of Arnold & Smith - John Price Carr House
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Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.

Challenges of a Military Divorce

Families with one or both spouses in the military face unique and different challenges than civilian families. Military life exists among possible deployments, quick transfers, sudden shifts in schedules, and often uncertainty. Marriage is a difficult and demanding endeavor under any circumstances but brings with it more complexities when one or both spouses are active in military life. If one spouse in a military marriage makes the decision to end a marriage, special and unique legal conditions apply to a military divorce. For a military family that has lived in many different states or jurisdictions, choosing a divorce venue may prove difficult. In some cases, there may be a marriage certificate in one state, jobs in several states, and physical real estate or property in different states, and both spouses may be left confused regarding which state to file a military divorce in to ensure their legal rights are protected.

Taking the time to ensure that a military service member and their spouse both understand their legal rights and options regarding their divorce is fundamental to the outcome of child support, spousal support, and their division of marital property.

Military Service Members Child Custody Rights

One of the largest concerns of any parent with respect to a divorce relates to child custody matters. All parents want to have as much time with their children as possible. It is important to note that for military divorces, both federal and state laws apply. Therefore, any decisions regarding child custody rights and/or parenting plans will be approved by the individual state. This is why it is critical to pick an appropriate venue for a military divorce.

While both parents want to spend as much time with their child as possible, in some cases, a military service member may face deployment, unfortunately taking them away from their child. However, the state of North Carolina officially and legally adopted the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act. This act allows a military service member that has received notice that they will be deployed soon, to make a determination regarding who will take their place for child custody purposes.

Benefits of the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act

Military service members have the right to make the decision regarding who they want to watch their child in their place while they are on deployment. In some cases, they would consider the best person to be someone who is not a family member or related to the child. The Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act will allow a military service member to make a choice regarding who they see is the best fit to watch their child while they are on deployment.

Challenges of the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act

There are several challenges to the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act. First, the military service member does not have to have the approval of the other parent regarding whom they will pick to watch their child in their place. This means that they could choose a new girlfriend, or a distant friend who has no real connection or knowledge of the child or the child’s schedule. Additionally, it can also bring into question certain legal considerations such as when the other person has custody, will they be allowed to make medical decisions on behalf of the child, or make the decision not to take them to a scheduled activity? Time will tell if there are any adjustments or modifications that will be made to this law.

Military Divorce Venues

While the above relates to custody following a divorce, there are several reasons that choosing a venue wisely for a military divorce is such a significant matter. Everything from child custody, child support calculations, spousal support and the division of marital property may depend on the specific venue chosen. The three venues that a military member may choose for their divorce include the following:

  • The actual current state where the military service member is currently stationed.
  • The state where the military service member has legal residency.
  • The state where the non-military service member spouse currently resides, if different from the military service member spouse.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you need expert legal advice regarding your military divorce, or regarding custody of your children following your military divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation. We can help you understand which venue may be best for your particular situation and guide you through the military divorce process.