Military Deployment And Child Custody

- Gary E. Williams

Life in the military often precludes a stable home life with your spouse and children. If your marriage dissolves, the relationship you have with your children should not. In recent years, the Florida legislature has made changes to protect the rights — and the relationship — of service members and their families.

In a military divorce matter, as with civilian divorce, child custody is determined based on the assessment of the court as to the best interests of your children. In the past, while members of the military have served their country, the laws of our state did not often fully serve men and women called to duty away from their children.

Presently, Florida law protects the time sharing rights of military parents in the following ways:

  • The court may address time sharing concerns of a deployed parent on an expedited basis.
  • Liberal time sharing arrangements may be ordered by the court during periods of leave to preserve the parent-child relationship.
  • Use of electronic means, including webcam can be ordered to help while a parent is deployed.
  • If a parent is deployed for more than 90 days, the service member can delegate a family member to exercise his or her parenting time while he or she is away.
  • Parents must work to agree on the delegated family member with objections relevant only to the best interests of the child.
  • A previous time sharing arrangement may be reinstated upon the return of the active service member from deployment.

Child custody matters are often the most difficult part of any divorce. If you are facing divorce while in the military, be sure to work with legal counsel experienced in state and federal laws.