Military Divorces & Child Custody Laws

Military Divorces & Child Custody Laws

When military couples divorce, they face a lot of unique issues that civilian couples who are going through a divorce may not typically face. In addition to some special issues concerning proper service of process when filing for divorce and residency requirements, military couples also face special considerations when it comes to child custody during a military divorce.

Child Custody Issues In Military Divorce

Many military families involve one active duty spouse with the other often remaining at home with the children. The scenario is commonly an active duty husband and a stay-at-home military wife, but the reverse is also true. The wife often remains at home to care for the couple’s children, foregoing developing a career or obtaining an education or job training to raise the family. The active duty husband often is deployed for long periods of time or sent to special military training, leaving the wife to care for the children and the home. A lot of sacrifices are made by both the husband and the wife, and military service can place a strain on a marriage.

When the couple can’t hold it together any longer, or things are just no longer working in the relationship, the couple opts to split through a divorce, and child custody is one of the most challenging aspects of the divorce. While the husband and wife might want to try for a joint custody arrangement, the non-deployed spouse might end up with custody of the children.

The family court looks at the situation of the military parents and works to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child. If the active duty father, for example, is often deployed for long periods of time, the court may find that things would be best for the children if the non-deployed mother gets full custody of the children.

International Military Divorces & Custody

Another special issue that sometimes arises in military divorce cases where children are involved is how custody claims work when the child lives abroad. Many American military members marry someone abroad, but then divorce and need help obtaining custody rights to their child who lives overseas. International child custody cases can be challenging, because custody must be obtained from a court that has jurisdiction over the child. For a child that lives predominantly overseas, jurisdiction most likely will not belong to the South Carolina courts.

Generally speaking, the state or country where the child predominately resides has jurisdiction over the child, and that is the place where custody must be sought. The child’s status as a US citizen has no bearing on the issue of jurisdiction for child custody matters, nor does the parent’s place of residence have an impact on where a claim can be brought for custody of the child. If the child lives abroad, only the foreign court where the child lives will be able to decide custody matters.

Contact A South Carolina Military Divorce Attorney

Military divorce is different from civilian divorce in many ways. When you are seeking a military divorce, you should work with a divorce attorney who has experience handling the unique issues that arise in military divorce situations. The experienced professionals at Klok Law Firm LLC can help.

Contact us today for a free consultation.