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Divorce is complicated for an average Florida family, but when the family is a military family, there are a unique set of circumstances that increase the complexity of the divorce. It is imperative if one of the divorcing spouses is a member of the military that you be familiar with specific issues related to military members facing the divorce process. Discussing these issues with an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney will ensure that your rights as a parent are being protected.
Because time sharing can differ under the law when it involves the military, here is some information to consider:
When deciding Florida family court cases, the law requires the courts to consider the ‘best interest of the child’ standard. The state also prefers for minor children to have relations with both parents. One issue that occurs with military families is that personnel are re-assigned every few years to various military bases. Normally they have no say in the assignment.
The individual can be relocated without knowing when or where the relocation will take place. This makes the time-sharing plan null and void. In these instances, service members can create long-distance sharing plans once they have arrived at their new location.
If the servicemember intends to relocate the children, they are still under obligation to request relocation permission with the court. The court will hear the request within 30 days, with a final hearing within 90 days of the original filing date. The military parent has the same burden of proof as any other parent requesting a relocation after a divorce.
In this instance, the parent must prove that the move is in the best interests of the child, while the other spouse can argue that the relocation is not within the children’s best interest.
Service members can be deployed as part of their duties to the military at any time. Florida law protects military parents who are required to deploy as follows:
While the member is deployed, the court is not allowed to modify the current parenting or time-sharing agreements. A change can only be made if it is in the best interests of the child.
If a member is deployed over 90 days, they will need to designate a caretaker for the child. The court limits this to a step-parent, grandparent, or a relative by marriage. This must be made in writing and given to the other parent at least 10 days before the deployment begins. It is advisable for members of the military to make this designation well in advance in the case of emergency deployments.
For members of the military, parenting plans and time-sharing agreements can be difficult to uphold in the case of deployment or relocation. Contacting an attorney who has experience with military families is necessary to ensure that your rights are protected as you serve our country.
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