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Understanding the complexities of military family law

For families with members in the military, there are additional laws that extend beyond the laws of traditional civilian life. Due to inherent differences in the life of a military member, issues such as deployment and reassignments, it is not uncommon for a parent to leave or move with little to no notice.

For couples where one or both spouses is in the military and there is the chance that they may have to move out of state or out of country, when divorcing, this could lead to more complicated issues with regards to child custody. Similar to traditional family law, court decisions generally follow the same rule of thumb and are made with the children's best interest in mind and the primary objective.

To address this possibility, parents are required to devise a family care plan, with specific instruction as to who takes care of a child or children in the event of a deployment or reassignment out of state. This plan includes all scenarios including short term caretakers, long term caretakers and care provision details -- which are detailed instructions on how the children are to be cared for. This plan will be reviewed by the parent's commanding officer annually, and is subject to change when a family's situation changes such as a new child or the death of a parent.

Considering the complexities of such arrangements, it is important for both spouses to have a full understanding the laws and their personal situation. It may be in their best interest to speak with a law firm not only familiar with family law, but also military law to make certain that their needs and wishes are met when in the process of a divorce or a military child custody dispute between spouses.

Source:, "Military Child Custody: Key Legal Issues," Accessed Nov. 15, 2016

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