As a military service member, you have a unique set of circumstances. If you have to relocate for your service, you may worry about how to visit or maintain custody of your children.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, you can work with the court to modify a child custody agreement to take your military relocation and deployment into consideration.
Can Your Co-Parent Change the Custody Agreement Without You?
One of the biggest fears of some military members is that they may have to relocate or leave the country for a period of time and while gone, the other parent may change the custody agreement. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you have a right to postpone any court or administrative proceeding if you cannot be present due to military service.
When you request protection in writing, you receive an automatic 90-day stay. Then, if you need a longer stay, you work through the judge or hearing officer to extend it.
Does Your Military Service Affect Your Ability to Gain Custody?
Your former spouse cannot use your military service against you when it comes to custody. You have protection against one parent using current, past and possible future absences against you when it comes to altering the custody order. During deployment, you do not lose your right to visit your children. In fact, you may be able to delegate your rights to another person. For instance, you may ask a family member to watch and visit with your children when deployed for service.
You have every right to be present if the court makes any permanent changes to your custody order.