Soldier leaving familyThis is the third post in my series on how being in the military affects child custody and family law cases in Las Vegas, Nevada. My last post discussed how pensions are divided during a military divorce. In this post I will discuss how deployment impacts child custody cases. If you require assistance then it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

Federal law protects Las Vegas military members from child custody changes while deployed

When a Las Vegas military person is deployed, they are engaged in active service for the US government. Federal law recognizes that it would not be fair for a military person’s spouse or ex-spouse to attempt to open a new child custody or family law case while that person is not home to deploy their rights. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) automatically postpones all civil litigation that is started against you while you are deployed for 90 days. This includes divorce filings or new child custody cases. This means that the court formally recognizes that you are away and will not begin any proceedings or make any permanent decisions while you are away and unable to respond. If 90 days passes and you have not yet returned, then extensions may be granted, but are not required. Individual Clark County Family Court Judges must determine whether or not an extension for the stay is warranted.

Temporary custody orders must be put in place while a Nevada serviceman is deployed

When you are deployed to active duty, someone must be designated to care for your children full time. If you usually have primary sole custody of your children, you may designate anyone from your children’s other parent, to another family member or friend of the family. If you share joint custody of your children, then the children’s nonmilitary parent will hold sole custody while you are away. When this happens, two options are possible. If you know the date in which you will return from your deployment, you may include a termination date with the temporary custody agreement. As long as both parties sign the agreement, and it is submitted to the court, then your original custody agreement will be restored upon return. However, if you do not submit a return date with the court, then once you return from deployment you must notify the party with temporary custody of your return. Once 60 days has passed, the temporary custody agreement will be automatically terminated. During the 60 day waiting period the court will grant reasonable visitation with the child. The only exceptions are if the other party can prove that a return to custody or visitation would be against the child’s best interest. On the other side of the coin, if you believe your child is in danger due to the current temporary arrangement, the court will expedite your request.

If you are in the military and know you will be deployed at some point, it is important to plan ahead and make sure your custody situation is planned for prior to your departure. Hiring a Las Vegas attorney can ensure that there is not a delay in regaining custody of your child upon return from your deployment. Contact our office today.

Prior to the temporary custody order being terminated, the court will issue reasonable visitation with the child, unless visitation is contrary to the child’s best interest.