Military divorces are common in Virginia and in other states across the country. The number of military divorces is rising; so are child custody issues among military members. Hence, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has come up with the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act that allows states to draft procedures when confronted with unique custody issues.
Child custody in Virginia has two aspects, physical custody and legal custody. Parents entrusted with physical custody of the child get to keep the child with them and parents entrusted with legal custody have the right to take important decisions in relation to the child, including the child's education and lifestyle choices. In case where parents do not have shared physical custody, the non-custodial parent is granted visitation rights to meet the child for limited duration from time to time. The best interests of the child are always the prime consideration of the court in issuing any child custody order.
Divorce, whether civilian or military, always has a financial side to it. A divorce is followed by alimony, property division, child custody, visitation rights and other disputes between the couple in court, if it turns out to be a bitter divorce. In order to protect the rights of individuals, federal and state authorities have put in place various mechanisms to deal with those issues.
It is common to see children being raised by individuals who are not their parents. As residents of Alexandria City, Virginia, may know, these are most often members of the parents' immediate family, such as the children's grandparents. While there are a number of reasons why parents rely on this wider circle of acquaintances when it comes to raising their children, sometimes grandparents or others need to take on complete parental duties.
Child custody issues can become complicated if one parent is serving in the military. Fortunately, the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act provides legal protection to members of the military in child custody issues.
Separation can be difficult for the children involved. Estranged spouses often become embroiled in a bitter dispute as a result of the emotional turmoil caused by the separation. However, child custody issues can become a major source of conflict in bitter divorce battles. Child custody issues for unmarried parents can become even more cumbersome.
Divorces can be emotional for the parties involved, especially children. Courts in Virginia apply the rule of "best interest of the child" to determine most divorce issues related to the child. These issues may include child support, child custody and visitation rights.
Divorce is hard on all of the parties involved, including the children, and in cases of military family law these cases may be handled a little differently than their civilian counterparts. For instance, recently, a 28-year-old serviceman was threatened with jail time as well as the loss of custody of his daughter while he was deployed. This man holds primary custody of his daughter from a previous marriage. However, the child custody issue garnered tremendous public sympathy, compelling a judge to reverse her previous decisions.
Many Virginia residents know sometimes divorcing couples suffer from depression. Many others do not want to separate, but are forced to by their spouses. However, these negative thoughts may not be a correct way to think of a divorce because they may hurt a divorcing spouse's future. Divorce should be thought of not as the ending of a life, but as a new beginning.
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.