Military Issues in Divorce and Custody Matters


I am incredibly grateful for our armed forces service members, and it has been my privilege, as an Arizona family law attorney, to represent a number of them in family law matters.

Cases involving members of the military are often an amalgamation of state and federal laws, which can lead to even more issues in court. While many of our judges have a general knowledge of some of the special rules affecting service members and their families, you cannot assume that they have all of the information to make the correct decisions.

I recently handled a case in which a father of a child with limited supervised parenting time sought to gain legal decision making (formerly custody) and have the child placed in his care until the mother, an army officer deployed overseas, returned. The father hired an attorney, and after their attempts at bullying my client failed, they filed a petition to modify. We responded and after a brief hearing the judge dismissed the father’s petition because my client was actively deployed.

Another case I handled involved a sailor whose ex-wife would not allow him to see his children. The sailor was stationed in California and the ex-wife had moved to Arizona. Imagine a sailor getting back from a six-month deployment and not being able to have his children greet him or see them shortly thereafter. Although it was too late to have the court rule to keep the children in California, I am proud that we gained my client substantial and regular parenting time, including the majority of the summer.

I have handled other cases involving a host of other military issues such as military retirement, child support payments, and determining jurisdiction. Although I have handled numerous cases for service members I also represent ex-spouses too. Military service, although noble and selfless in many ways, does not make one above the law.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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