Custody Issues for Military Personnel in Divorce Cases

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County child custody attorneys: California Divorce MediatorsChild custody can be a big issue if you are in the military. Deployments and relocations are frequent and when you’re constantly on the move, it becomes obvious that you cannot spent time with your children. It leads to custody battles and you may have to temporarily give up your custody. Military parents have faced this issue for a long time now and the State of California have developed laws that help such parents.

Making a family care plan

Making a family care plan is very important in divorce cases involving children. If you know someone who is in the military or if yourselves are in the military, then you know the importance of a family plan. A family care plan creates a set of guidelines to take care of your children. It describes the care provider and the roles he/she needs to play. It includes food, education, healthcare, clothing and other emotional support that will be provided to your children during your absence. It also includes short-term and long-term custody and the name of the person(s) who will provide it.

Another important aspect of creating a family care plan is keeping things transparent between you, your children, and the court.

Custody issues during relocation

Child custody is not a subject of federal laws but depends on state laws. Every state has their own set of laws to answer child custody issues. When you get deported or relocated, courts make decision based on these laws. In California, before you leave you must show the amount of support you can provide for your children. The family care plan plays an important role because you are already prepared. In case you fail to provide any proof, your leave might get delayed.

In case your relocation is not pre-planned then the court might take it into consideration and modify the court order.

Senate Bill 1082

The Senate Bill 1082 was passed in 2005 by then Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Bill was passed to ensure that parents who serve in the military are protected from child custody battles. It provides certain benefits and helps children of military personnel from legal problems.

This Bill was one of the first solutions provided to military parents who otherwise face huge problems. If you are in the military you are entitled to such protects.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation

Child Custody and The Military- The Case of E.U and J.E

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

divorce mediators in Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsGoing through a divorce is definitely not one of the easiest experiences for many, and add issues of child custody to it and the marriage becomes even more stressful. Now add that stress to a parent who is in the military and on active duty, and the stress levels can go through the roof.

One of the landmark cases that has come to define the approach that the court must take when dealing with Orange County divorce cases with child custody issues involving military personnel is called the Marriage of E.U. and J.E. The greater emphasis of the court’s decision was with regard to parental rights enjoyed by members of service that are deployed for active duty.

This blog will outline what the courts decided and most importantly observed in this case.

A Brief Low Down on the Facts

The child between the married couple was born in the year 2000. A year after the birth of the child the parents filed for an Orange County divorce. The primary custody of the child was given to the father and the parental arrangements were formalized back in the year 2006 July. It was reaffirmed by the trial court as being in the best interest of the child.

However, there was a clause in the 2006 order which highlighted that in case a spouse was to be called for military duty, the other spouse would assume primary responsibility of the child. This would end when the deployed parent came back home and things would go back to the status quo decided.

The father was deployed from 2009 to 2012 in Afghanistan. Once the father returned, the mother refused to hand the primary custody back to the father arguing that it would damage the stability that the child had become accustomed to over the past few years.

What the Judges Thought

As a result of this development, the judge had to have a hearing on the 2006 order and ordered an Evidence Code section 730 child custody evaluation. The judge of the case accepted that there was to be a delay as a result of Family Code section 3047 being used, but placed some responsibility of the situation on the father. This was because the father had failed to provide information of his prospective deployment to the court back in October 2010 when they asked.

Once the 730 report came out, it suggested that the child should be left in the care of the mother because the age of the child was now 6 and he had become accustomed to the care and stability of his mother.  However, the parties couldn’t come to agreement on this fact. The father argued that Family Code section 3047 was designed to protect the parental rights of people that were deployed in service.

Importantly, the Court of Appeal on hearing the appeal, accepted the use of Family Code section 3047 and ordered for the custody to be returned to the father now that he was back from his service and that his deployment should not be used against him.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, “What is Divorce Mediation.”