As a parent and a soldier, you serve your country to keep America safe for your children. There is nothing more important than spending time with your children. While divorce ends a marriage, it does not end your bond with your children and your right to raise them. At Morris-Sockle, we’re dedicated to helping military parents get the custody and visitation they deserve.

Custody Challenges of Military Service

Your military service duty may require you to be outside the state or even the country for extended periods of time. If your deployment involves prolonged, frequent, or unpredictable periods of separation from the children, your ex-wife may challenge you over custody of the children.

In Washington, the legal term for full custody is “residential placement.” Courts can be reluctant to award residential placement to fathers who are active military if they have an unpredictable schedule. This makes it challenging for soldiers who are fathers to win full custody of their children.

We believe you shouldn’t be punished for choosing to dedicate your life to protecting our country.

Your self-sacrificing military service is heroic and should be recognized by the court. If you want full custody of your children, we are ready to stand by your side and fight for your rights in court. The issue is what is in the best interest of the children. MSP attorneys work with military parents to show the Courts why you will be the best care provider for your children.

Flexible Visitation Schedules

Even if you choose not to have your children live with you full-time, you want to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. During the divorce process, you and your attorney will negotiate a Parenting Plan which will detail the visitation schedule.  Fair visitation can be challenging for service members. If you are active duty military, your schedule can be unpredictable. You may not be able to pick your children up from school because of your military commitments.

Just because you don’t have a 9 to 5 schedule, it does not mean that you don’t deserve full visitation with your children. You need a lawyer experienced in the special needs of military parents; a divorce attorney who will fight hard for a flexible schedule to make sure you can keep serving our country and spending time with your children on a regular basis. MSP attorneys will work to develop the best possible visitation plan based on your military schedule and commitment.

SCRA Protection and Temporary Custody

The Service Members Civil Relief Act protects active duty service members from untimely litigation and default judgments, and it allows service members to request a 90-day stay (halting) of court proceedings. SCRA usually protects military fathers from default judgments in custody and support matters, but the protection is not absolute or automatic.

While courts are required to respect the provisions of SCRA, they must also consider the best interests of the children. During a divorce, this can lead to a judge to rule in favor of the non-military parent, even while the military parent is deployed out of state and unable to attend the hearing. In such cases, the court weighs the best interest of the children against the protections of SCRA. Only attorneys that fully understand SCRA can win the protection our deployed parents deserve.

Only a divorce lawyer experienced in military divorce can properly argue that respecting SCRA is in the best interest of the children and their military parent. You can trust Morris Sockle Posadas to make sure bad things don’t happen in divorce court while military parents are deployed protecting America.

Assigning Visitation Rights

Military parents have a unique legal right in the state of Washington. As a service member, you can assign your visitation rights to another person while you are deployed. Washington law only provides this right to members of the military. This means that while you are away, your children will spend your visitation time with the person you designate. For example, this allows your mother, the children’s grandmother, to have your visitation while you are deployed.

While this is currently the law in Washington, it is a new and untested legal concept. Your ex-spouse may challenge your right to assign your visitation. Additionally, this law may not survive constitutional or Supreme court challenges. You are likely to have greater success if the assignee of the visitation right is closely related to your children (such as an adult sibling or grandparent).

To ensure your visitation assignment is respected and your children are spending time with the person you designated, you need a Washington lawyer experienced in Military divorce.

Morris-Sockle attorneys advise and assist spouses and parents in the military going through divorce. We will help you understand how both Washington state and federal law applies to your divorce. You served your country and kept America safe. We are proud to stand by you in court.

Call us today at (360) 866-7100 to speak with an attorney who understands the needs of military men.

If you would like more information on the divorce process for members of the Military, please check out our free Military Divorce Guide, or contact our office to meet with an attorney about your particular circumstances.

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