Military Child Custody
In Colorado, child custody is often referred to as parenting time (physical custody) and decision making (legal custody). In a civilian divorce, it is common for one parent to use instances of absence as a reason to request sole custody or modify an existing current custody agreement. Because of active duty deployment, this would make parents who are service members an easy target. Luckily, there are statutes and laws in place to protect service members in these situations when they are deployed out of state or even out of the country.
Can Deployment Impact My Child Custody Agreement?
As a service member, active duty or deployment can have a direct impact on your current parenting time and legal custody agreements. Luckily, there are provisions in place to protect certain parts of child custody arrangements for divorced or separated parents who are service members. These include the Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA).
The SCRA allows service men and women to file for a stay to prevent court proceedings from taking place while they are actively deployed. This stay must be requested in writing and is valid for a 90-day period. The service member may also opt to have his or her attorney attend the court proceeding on their behalf if they wish to move forward instead of waiting until the end of their deployment.
The UDPCVA includes a wide variety of provisions that protect a service member’s right to child custody. This act is specific to military parents deployed for longer than the SCRA stay period of 90 days, but fewer than 18 months. Perhaps the most notable provision of the UDPCVA is that one parent cannot use a service member's deployment as the sole factor for determination of legal custody.
Child custody as part of divorce proceedings can be a very complicated and difficult process, especially if deployment is on the horizon. We are incredibly grateful for our service men and women and their sacrifices for our freedom.
The attorneys at Drexler Law are experienced in managing all aspects of military divorce, including child custody. Let us help you through this challenging time so you can focus on what is most important—your family and loved ones.