Griffith, Young, and Lass Talk Deployment and Child Custody
San Diego, CA – Anyone who has grown up in a military family is familiar with the excitement and anxiety that a deployment call can precipitate. It’s a mix of pride of being able to serve one’s nation in a critical time, mixed with worries about how things will proceed in your absence.
Add divorce and joint child custody to the equation, and this can be a most challenging and stressful situation. There is a lot of misconceptions when it comes to parenting agreements and military deployment that add needlessly to this confusion. Family law attorneys, Griffith, Young, and Lass aim to clear up the stance California family court has when it comes to these sorts of scenarios in the following sections.
Can I file for child custody or parenting modification now that my ex, who is the custodial parent, has been called for deployment?
No. The Federal Civil Relief Act protects parents from being served motions for changing parenting agreements and from custody disputes for the initial 90 days of deployment. After that, they can respond to the situation under California family court jurisdiction. Unless there are other factors involved that would make that parent unfit to continue as custodial parent—apart from deployment—it is very unlikely that child custody will be changed permanently because of a temporary deployment.
If a deployed parent’s appearance is necessary in court, they may be allowed to testify through electronic or telephonic correspondence.
I’ve been called to deploy shortly, and have filed a temporary agreement with the other co-parent (to care for my child as the primary caretaker) while I’m away. Will this jeopardize my parenting rights in the future?
Absolutely not. All arrangements made for the child during the primary parent’s deployment are for the duration of deployment only. Even if the child lives with the noncustodial parent for a year long deployment, this does not automatically give that parent favor with the court should they seek parenting time modification in the future.
What other parenting arrangements are possible for a deploying parent to implement?
Custodial parents on the verge of deployment may wish to choose another family member (like a grandparent) to supplement the parenting time the child will spend with the ex spouse in their stead. This is a temporary arrangement only and may or may not be granted by the court. If the relationship between the child and temporary guardian is strong and beneficial for the child, it will probably be granted for the length of the deployment, but not longer.
If you are in San Diego, La Jolla, Carlsbad, or surrounding areas and require child custody advice, call Griffith, Young, and Lass at 1(858)324-5330. We also help with parenting agreement modifications, guardianship, postnuptial agreements, and more.
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