When Service Members Need To Relocate After Divorce

When you serve in the military, there are certain aspects of your life that you have little to no control over. Where you reside is certainly near the top of the list. The military can dictate when and where you will be transferred or deployed and for how long. If you are a parent, this has a very real impact on your life as well as your child's.

Our lawyers know how to help parents resolve issues affected by relocation and deployment. Although we are located in Grand Rapids, we can accommodate parents based anywhere around the world handle custody and parenting time matters here in west Michigan.

You've Been Relocated — What Happens Now?

Service members are frequently relocated from one base to another due to the needs of the military. Moving miles away from the other parent impacts both parents' custody and visitation rights. If you or a spouse has been relocated, you may need to:

  • Obtain court permission to move the children: A reassignment to another base does not automatically grant a parent the authority to take the children along with him or her, even if the parent had no choice in the matter. Under Michigan law, parents who wish to move their children more than 100 miles away or out of state may be required to obtain approval from the court.
  • Modify a custody and parenting time arrangement: Parenting time schedules may need to be adjusted if a parent moves further away. For example, it may no longer be practical or feasible to have the children travel every other weekend.

Even in situations where the other parent voluntarily agrees to a change in custody or parenting time, you should consult with a divorce lawyer before taking any action.

Plan For Deployment With A Temporary Custody Order

If you or your child's other parent is an active duty service member, you may not know for how long you or the other parent will be deployed. Service members and parents who share custody should always have a temporary custody order in place prior to deployment. Without this legal protection, you could put your child custody and parenting time rights at risk.

Who should have a temporary custody order in place?

  • Any parent or guardian who may be impacted by active duty, whether it is you or the individual with whom you share custody and parenting time that could be deployed. If you want to protect your rights or return to the status quo after the period of deployment, you need an order.

What are some possible terms that should be included in the plan or even required under military law?

  • Distinct provision clearly stating the temporary nature of the arrangement and reinstatement of the prior order upon return from deployment
  • Restrictions and directions regarding how the child should be parented
  • Caregiver designations for possible short- and long-term absences
  • Alternative caregiver designations in the event of an unexpected emergency
  • Provisions for alternate ways to maintain contact between parent and child
  • Additional requirements for the other parent to provide updates regarding the child to the military parent

Trust That Your Rights Are Protected In Any Event

With Kraayeveld Law Offices, P.C., you can rest assured that your rights will be protected whether you are being relocated or deployed. Send us an email at any time or call us at 616-426-9644 to speak to an attorney.