What happens to my divorce case if I deploy?


Can a Service Member be Held in Default for Failing to Respond to a Divorce-related Claim while Deployed?The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that protects military service members from being held in default for failing to respond to certain legal disputes while they are deployed. If a service member receives notice of a civil lawsuit like a divorce complaint while he or she is deployed, the service member has a right to request that the lawsuit be stayed for a period of a least 90 days. In most cases, DC courts will grant the service member's request to stay the proceedings and will extend the stay until the deployment is over. However, the if judge denies the service member's request, the judge must appoint an attorney to represent the service member in the case that is proceeding in his or her absence. 

Can Military Service Members Lose Custody of a Child Due to Deployment?
While SCRA stays are routinely granted in many divorce proceedings, judges are less inclined to stay child custody proceedings, where the absence of the deployed parent may necessitate changes in custody orders for the protection of the child.  In recent years, many states struggled to find a way to protect the safety and best interests of military children without punishing military parents for serving their country in wartime.  In D.C., the law allows judges to enter temporary orders altering the custody and visitation rights of deployed parents, but this temporary order terminates and the pre-deployment status-quo resumes, within 10 days after notification of the deploying parent's ability to resume custody or visitation unless the court finds that the resumption of the custody order in effect before deployment "is no longer in the child's best interest." D.C. Code 16-914.02 


Military Child Custody Attorney in Washington DC
If you are a current or former military service member or military spouse and you are attempting to establish legal custody of your children in Washington DC, it is critical that you understand the intricacies of the law specifically as they relate to military service members and their families. When the stakes could not be higher, you will need an experienced Washington DC child custody attorney who truly understands this unique area of law. Call DC military child custody attorney Karen Shinskie today at 202.627.6918, or email at kshinskie@shinskielawgroup.com for a free, no obligation consultation. As both a military spouse and an experienced child custody attorney, Karen Shinskie is thoroughly familiar with the special rules and circumstances that will influence your case, and she is uniquely positioned to protect your vital interests in your military child custody case.