Effect of Military Service on Child Custody and Visitation In Virginia

Posted on Dec 6, 2019 by Hofheimer Family Law

If you or your child’s other parent is in the military, you may be wondering if military service will have an affect upon your child custody or visitation case.  Child custody or visitation cases can be more complicated when a military service member subject to deployment, or transfer to locations overseas or to another state, is involved. Therefore, a parent’s military service may affect the outcome of your Virginia child custody or visitation case in some circumstances.  However, this is only one of many issues that the court will consider when determining child custody and visitation.  Rest assured, that the court will make its decision based upon the best interest of the child, and military service is not a bar to custody or visitation in Virginia!

Here are a few further considerations on the issue of Virginia child custody and military service:

  • You may not be able to exercise your parenting time during periods of deployment or while you are stationed at some duty stations. In some cases, temporary custody is given to the other parent, stepparent, or other person while a military service member is deployed or stationed at some duty stations.  Under most circumstances, custody or visitation rights will be restored upon return from deployment or modified to accommodate a different duty station.
  • You may be granted a stay of child custody proceedings. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that allows military personnel to halt many court proceedings so they can focus on their duties. In some cases, this allows a military service member to stop others from seeking a final custody order while the service member is unavailable to participate in the hearing due to military service.
  • Military relocation can complicate your child custody case. If you or your child’s other parent is forced to move to a different state or overseas due to military service, this could affect both custody and visitation.  However, a court is likely to establish a new visitation or custody order to accommodate this change of circumstance.
  • You may need a unique visitation schedule.  Since a military career often means moving regularly or being deployed overseas, it may be difficult to exercise an every other weekend visitation schedule. Realize that you will need to work with your child’s other parent, or to educate the Court, concerning a visitation schedule that will work around the needs of both parents and the child.

A Virginia family law attorney who has experience helping military service members with child custody and visitation issues can help with these issues, and answer your questions about military service and custody and visitation cases. Call Hofheimer Family Law at (757) 785-9761 to speak with a lawyer, schedule a meeting, and make certain that your child custody and visitation case is resolved fairly.