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The US Department of Defense’s Military OneSource network provides advice for military members facing child custody issues. During a military divorce, you still have to abide by Kentucky’s custody laws. It is important to understand what considerations are given to military members and how to use those to your advantage.

The Service Members Civil Relief Act protects a person’s legal rights during a call to duty. This protection act allows the service member to:

  • Receive a stay of 90 days in proceedings
  • Receive a stay of court or administrative proceedings if the military service interferes with the case

For instance, if your spouse changes the custody status during your deployment, you can invoke your rights to postpone any hearings until you are home. While the initial stay is 90 days, you can request the protection and any additional delays as you see fit. A judge, hearing officer or magistrate will choose whether you can apply for a stay.

In all 50 states, your spouse cannot use military status against you. For instance, if you are absent due to military service, your spouse cannot claim absence as a reason for a change to a custody arrangement. Nothing can change permanently while a parent is unavailable. The custody arrangement in place before a military member deploys remains the same when he or she returns. The only exception is if the other parent can provide ample proof that it should change.

This information is meant to inform on special considerations for military members during a child custody case. It is not legal advice.