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Sailor requests judge to postpone child custody proceedings

Military deployment to a remote location, far away from family is difficult for any soldier. Some couples, who cannot handle the strain of military life, opt to divorce and not complicate their lives further. Virginia is home to dozens of military families, and residents know that child custody when one spouse is still actively engaged in active duty can be quite complicated, if not handled correctly. Recently, a social media campaign in many states was carried out in support of a U.S. Navy sailor ordered by the court to be present at a hearing, even though he is deployed to an unknown location.

According to sources, the couple filed for divorce in 2009. A year later, the mother lost custody of the child after she was accused of child abuse and neglect, providing the sailor full custody. It is also stated that the mother failed to pay child support on multiple occasions.

Last summer, the mother filed for child custody and asked the judge to decrease her child support amount because she had another baby and lost her job. Reports also showed that, in the last eight months, the mother has seen her daughter only once, although she has monthly visitation rights.

Recently, the judge issued an order for the sailor to attend court or to present the child. However, the sailor could not attend because he is on military maneuvers. He wrote to the judge explaining his overseas military service and expected the case to be postponed until he returned. This idea was supported by the Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act, which allows a 90-day stay in civil court proceedings, if military service keeps the person away. Hence, knowledge of military family law can prove to be very helpful in proceedings related to family matters as the emotional and physical future of the family depends on it.

Source: Navy Times, "Sailor's duty to country puts him at risk of losing daughter in custody battle," Robert Allen, June 22, 2014

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