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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer DIscusses Military Deployment and Child Custody

Written by Amar Weisman » June 24, 2015 »

Military deployment can be a trying time for family members and friends of the men and women being deployed. These men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces are putting their lives on the line for the safety of our entire nation.

But while they are away, who is looking out for them and their best interests? Unfortunately, things can happen back at home that can change a service member's life -- family members die, homes may be lost due to a storm or for some other reason, or some may even face the threat of losing custody of a child or children.

A story in the Army Times tells of a sailor who was facing the threat of losing custody of his daughter if he could not attend a court hearing. The sailor's submarine was deployed at the time, and after numerous citizens and fellow service members made their voices heard, the sailor's hearing was postponed for four months, in accordance with federal law.

A Look at What Happened

The attorney who represented the sailor filed for what is known as a "stay" under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The stay calls for administrative and judicial proceedings to be temporarily suspended during a person's military service in order to avoid possible civil rights issues. The law includes a specific provision that gives service members 90 days to show up to court and handle their child custody issues.

The sailor obtained primary custody of his daughter after he alleged his ex-wife and her boyfriend abused and neglected the child who was ultimately removed from the home in 2010. It was then that the sailor was given physical and legal custody of the child.

The child's mother served a short time in jail, as well as probation, which ended in 2012. The mother sought to change the custody order in August of 2013 and in April of the following year, she asked the court to lower her support payments due to having another child and being out of work.

A hearing was scheduled for June of 2014; however, the sailor was deployed and could not appear at that time. The judge stated at the time that if the sailor did not appear or produce the child in two weeks at the next hearing date, she would have to issue a bench warrant, noting that if the child was not being cared for by the father, she should be in the mother's care and custody.

What Does This Mean for You?

Sadly, custody issues and battles in Mays Chapel & Lutherville frequently occur during one's deployment (or immediately thereafter). However, as noted above, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects military men and women, along with their families, from certain actions being taken against them while they are deployed.

In the case above, though, we see that even judges fail to fully abide by the provisions of the Act. With that being a real possibility, members of the military are encouraged to seek legal guidance and assistance from a skilled Towson family law attorney who can work to ensure that all rights are preserved and respected. 

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.