Articles Posted in Military Divorce & Family Law

Legislation introduced in the House last Friday would protect the Orange County or Los Angeles County child custody arrangements of deployed military service members.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), would prohibit a judge from considering certain military deployments in determining the best interest of the child. Also, if custody were temporarily transferred to another person during a service member’s deployment, arrangements would return to pre-deployment status upon his or her return.

Currently, courts use military deployments against service members when determining custody rights, said Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for Turner.

A fascinating article which appeared on the Huffington Post earlier this month seeks to shine a light on military divorce. That is a welcome change. Military divorce is an issue that has received too little attention here in Orange County and elsewhere around the nation despite the fact that the United States is now fighting three wars.

Citing Pentagon data, the article notes that “7.9 percent of women in the armed forces got a divorce last year – versus 3 percent of their male counterparts.” It also cites a researcher with the RAND Corporation who says that based on a study of 15 years worth of similar data those numbers “are part of an ongoing trend.”

As I have written several times over the last few years, military divorces pose a number of unique issues. They frequently cast their net far wider than California and Orange County. As I noted in a post last month, some states are seeking to treat military pensions differently from other income in ways that could encourage ‘jurisdiction shopping’ by soon-to-be-ex spouses. Similarly, child custody cases arising from military divorces often cross state lines. This is a complicating factor under any circumstances, but can become much more difficult for mothers and fathers in uniform when their spouse attempts to use deployment, or the possibility of it, as a lever in custody and visitation negotiations.