I Am Active Duty Military; Will This Have an Impact on My Ability to Get Primary Custody of My Children?

Several years ago, the Florida Legislature amended the factors a Court is consider when making a determination as to which parent is to be awarded primary custody (residential responsibility) of the parties’ minor children.  Today, Florida Courts are not to consider the effect of the past or future absences of the serving military member that were or are related to his or her deployments.

You will have an even playing field with your spouse or other parent of your children when seeking primary custody of your children.  The Courts will consider the factors listed in §61.13, Florida Statutes when determining which parent is to be awarded primary custody of your children based on which parent, applying the statutory factors to each parent, better serves the best interests of the children.  For a more detailed discussion as to how the Courts make the determination to award primary residential responsibility of the parties’ children, click on our dedicated tab titled “Child Custody and Support” found on our home page.

In addition to modifying the factors for a Court to consider as discussed above, the Florida Legislature also enacted a time-sharing statute that is specifically designed to meet the needs of parents who are also active duty members of the armed forces of the United States.  Specifically, what this statute does is that whenever you are deployed for a period of time that exceeds 90 days, you may assign your time-sharing to an immediate member of your family, such as your parents and your adult siblings.

Typically, when an active duty military parent is awarded primary custody of their children and leaves on deployment, the time-sharing schedule is reversed and the other parent becomes the primary custodial parent for the duration of your deployment.  This is the time-sharing that you may assign to an immediate relative as mentioned above. Immediately upon your return from deployment, the time-sharing schedule will revert to the pre-deployment schedule and you will again enjoy primary custody of your children.  For a more detailed discussion of a military divorce, please read our page dedicated to Military Divorce.

Determination of child custody and time-sharing schedules in the civilian world is complex and difficult enough as it is.  Now mix in the aspect of active duty military service and the matter becomes even more complex. At Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A., we are highly experienced in representing active duty military members regarding all aspects of family law.  Furthermore, all of us at Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. are grateful for your service and deeply appreciate the sacrifices that you make protecting our safety and preserving our freedom.

If you are an active duty member of the military and find yourself in need of legal representation concerning family law matters, contact us immediately.  We are here to help!

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