Harvard Law School
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Yale University
Mediator, Judge Pro-Tem
Certified Family Law Specialist
licensed by the State Bar of California
Stan is a member of the
San Diego North County Bar Association .
Licensed to practice in California, Maryland, Washington D.C., & Georgia
To start our discussion about child custody in the military, we’re going to paint a picture via hypothetical scenario. A military man marries a woman who is also in the military. They immediately have a child, and the wife retires to stay home and care for the child. The couple has a rocky relationship, to say the least. In the midst of a heated argument, the husband strikes his wife. The wife then takes her things and their child to go stay with her mother out of state. Let’s say Nevada for our reference. Now from Nevada, the wife files for divorce with the San Diego court, and requests spousal support. The odds are stacked incredibly for the wife’s favor. For one thing, her child is already enrolled in school in Nevada and she won’t be forced to return to California. Next, she doesn’t work. The husband, on the other hand, not only has his revenue from the military, but also extra income from things like basic allowance for quarters and other stipulations for military service members. What’s more, much of that money is non-taxable. The courts will take all sources of income into account when calculating child support, so even if he doesn’t see it, the lawyers will, and then his ex-wife will. Dad’s then left with two weekends of visitation a month to see his child, one of which he has to meet his ex at the Nevada border. Taking distance into account, he will rarely see his child unless he has the means to fly out of state twice a month, which is unlikely, especially considering the child support he will now be paying.
This sounds like a very raw deal for this military man. As we humans often do, we let our emotions control us and leave logic and reason behind, creating consequences that could’ve been avoided. So how can this be avoided specifically? First off, keep your hands to yourself. Husbands and wives, maintain self-control. Do not let present anger lead you to actions that can ruin so much. Additionally, keep both spouses working. If his wife hadn’t retired, this man wouldn’t be left with the crippling amount of child support he now has to pay.Complex family scenarios can be even more complicated for a family in the military.
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