California is home to many active military service members and the families. Like any other married person, military service members often have to deal with divorce and other family law disputes. However, military deployments can make it very difficult to navigate these issues.
The reality is that a deployment can prevent a member of the military from appearing in court for critical family law hearings. Without the ability to show up and represent their cause, service members may have serious difficulty upholding their rights in conflicts over child custody or support.
With this difficulty in mind, it’s important to know that federal law provides protection to active and deployed members of the military. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, according to the Army Times, helps ensure that individuals away on duty have the right to appear in court. As such, individuals can apply for a 90-day stay on court actions, provided that they explain why military duties are preventing them from appearing on initially scheduled court dates.
Of course, there are specific requirements to have a stay put in place by the relevant family law court. Not only must service members document why they are unable to appear in court and when they are available, they must also receive verification from their commanding officer.
Missing out on crucial components of the law can prove to be incredibly costly for military service members. After all, a person should not be penalized simply for taking up service on behalf the country. When military service issues cross paths with family law issues, individuals may want to make sure their position and rights are well represented.
Source: Army Times, “Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment,” Lance M. Bacon, July 5, 2014