Child Custody For Military Families

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Child Custody For Military Families

Preserving the Best Interests of Children in Military Families

Military life is notoriously difficult for families with young children. The demanding nature of military service becomes even more difficult when divorce is involved. If you need legal counsel regarding a child custody dispute involving a military parent, you should reach out to Moshtael Family Law to consult with one of our dedicated military child custody attorneys in Orange County. Our legal team has devoted their practice to helping California residents and their families deal with and resolve legal disputes concerning California family law.

Protections Under California Law

Both state and federal law touches on child custody issues for military servicemembers and their families. California law recognizes specific protections against child custody enforcement and modification proceedings for members of the armed forces. Under California Family Code § 3047, a servicemember’s failure to comply with a court order regarding child custody and visitation is not enough to warrant modifying the original custody or visitation order if such noncompliance was due to the servicemember’s military duties, including:

  • Activation to military duty
  • Activation to temporary military duty
  • Mobilization to support combat operations
  • Military deployment out of state

When military duties materially impact a servicemember’s ability to appear for court proceedings in California, the judge must decide on which of the following approaches to pursue:

  • Holding an expedited hearing before the servicemember leaves for duty
  • Allow the military servicemember to remotely participate in mediation through electronic means

Protections Under Federal Law

One of the most important laws concerning the custody of children with a military parent is the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Under the SCRA, legal proceedings where a servicemember is a named party must generally accommodate their military responsibilities.

Ordinarily, state law governs issues of child custody and visitation. In general, state courts are required to render child custody determinations based on the child’s best interests. One of the factors that courts may evaluate when determining issues of child custody include a parent’s living situation, and their ability to provide the child with a stable and safe environment.

Under 50 USCS § 3938, a court is prohibited from modifying a custody arrangement based solely on a servicemember’s absence due to military deployment. Instead, a court may issue a temporary custody order that lasts no longer than necessary in light of the parent’s deployment.

The SCRA defines the term “deployment” to mean “the movement or mobilization of a servicemember to a location for a period of longer than 60 days and not longer than 540 days pursuant to temporary or permanent official orders—

  • that are designated as unaccompanied;
  • for which dependent travel is not authorized; or
  • that otherwise do not permit the movement of family members to that location.”

Consult an Orange County Military Child Custody Lawyer from Moshtael Family Law

Are you concerned about protecting your child’s welfare and interests in a military family? If so, please reach out to Moshtael Family Law to discuss your case with one of our qualified military child custody attorneys in Orange County. We are committed to delivering unparalleled legal service to help you navigate the challenges of supporting or contesting a request to modify the terms of your custody arrangement. You can rest assured knowing that our legal team’s first priority is promoting your child’s best interests.

Please call or contact our office online to arrange for an appointment about your case today.

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