What are my rights as a military parent in child custody proceedings?

Divorce can be hard on all parties involved. Even if the process is civil, stress and tension are inevitable. But it can be even more complicated when you’re in the military. Deployment and relocation are common expectancies when you’re a member of the military. When you throw children and a divorce into the mix, stress can escalate when it comes to arranging child custody.

Rest assured, there are regulations that protect parents who are in the military—and their child custody rights.

A proactive protection project

The military has undertaken a project that tracks parent and child custody legislation in each state. This project ensures that states work to protect service members, and that military service cannot be the only reason to deny military parents their custody or visitation rights.

Currently, North Carolina passes the project rating system and provides a good amount of support for parents who might have to put their custody or visitation rights on hold due to military service.

Providing relief to active duty members

While deployment is a predictable part of military service, it can happen suddenly. However, if you are unable to attend child custody court proceedings due to military service, you are entitled to postpone the proceedings for up to 90 days. After 90 days, a judge or hearing officer must grant additional time if needed. Additionally, if you fail to appear in court or respond to a lawsuit because of military duty, there are certain rules that protect you from penalties.

As a military parent going through child custody proceedings, it’s important to understand what protections are available to you. Don’t let your status as an active service member deter you from seeking legal assistance. Knowing your rights as a military parent can help you come to an arrangement that is best for you and your children.

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