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How do Arkansas military parents develop child custody plans?

Legal issues surrounding children can be thorny for any Little Rock couple in the process of separation or divorce. At least with many civilians, parents remain in the same city or state after a break-up. Military parents have duties to travel and relocate that can cause problems with child custody and support.

Fortunately, military family laws like The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protect the rights of personnel on tours of duty. Under SCRA, deployed service members are not penalized for serving their country. A court will place a divorce, child support or custody matter on hold until the service member's return.

Many military parents fear their travel commitments will prevent them from becoming a custodial parent. Certainly, being in the service presents quite a few child care challenges. However, courts encourage parenting plans that promote maximum participation by parents in their children's lives.

A military parent's plan may require a lot of thought, preparation, parental cooperation and flexibility. A civilian attorney can help you build a parenting plan that includes arrangements for visitations and custody during and after a service member parent's deployment or transfer. A child custody agreement can be modified as a spouse's duties, locations and income change.

The same lawyer can help a service member or non-service member spouse work through child support obligations. Applicable laws depend upon the state where the custodial parent and children live.

The military will step in to make sure family members receive support when parents lack a formal support agreements or court orders -- support rules vary by Service. Like other employers, the military help state agencies collect child support. Service members' pay can be garnished to guarantee parental obligations are fulfilled.

Military personnel share similar problems when a marriage ends. However, one service member's family situation can differ greatly from another's. A civilian attorney provides customized answers and guides you through the legal process.

Source: National Military Family Association, "Custody Child Support" Dec. 07, 2014

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