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Military Divorce Part 1: Key Elements Service Members Should Know

Divorce is a challenging journey for anyone, but for anyone serving in the military, it’s even more intricate due to the unique demands of military life. Modern Law owner Billie Tarascio recently had the opportunity to delve deep into this topic on the Modern Divorce Podcast, where she conversed with Military Divorce Expert, Matt Randle, a Tucson-based family law attorney. Here’s what we learned:

1. Parenting Time and Relocation

When service members face the possibility of relocation, parenting time comes to the forefront of concerns.
• Permanent Change of Station: According to Matt, if a service member faces a permanent change of station, it’s treated like any civilian relocation.
• Deployments: Matt emphasized that while courts can make temporary modifications in the best interest of the child, they won’t permanently alter the parenting plan or legal decision-making based on deployments.
• Temporary Duty (TDY): Short assignments, like TDYs, are not grounds for modifying parenting arrangements, as Matt explained in detail during our discussion.

2. Delegating Parenting Time

A crucial point Matt brought up was about delegating parenting time during military duties.
• Service members have the right to allocate their parenting time during deployments or TDY. However, this delegation doesn’t extend legal decision-making rights to the delegate. This distinction is vital, especially when considering the potential unease some parents might feel if their ex-spouse delegates time to a new partner.

3. Protecting Service Member Relationships

One of the core tenets we took away from our conversation with Matt is the importance of preserving the relationship between service members and their families. The courts, recognizing the sacrifices made by military personnel, aim to maintain these vital familial bonds.

4. The Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Matt enlightened us about the SCRA, a pivotal piece of federal legislation for service members.
• The SCRA ensures service members won’t be disadvantaged due to their duty. If they’re deployed and unable to participate in their legal case, SCRA ensures the proceedings won’t continue in their absence.
• Matt also shared that SCRA protections extend across various military branches and even to certain non-military services like Public Health Services and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

Our conversation with Matt Randle has even more information about military divorces, shining a light on the numerous unique challenges and protections associated with military divorce. At Modern Law, we believe in staying informed and guiding our clients through every twist and turn. If you’re a service member considering or undergoing divorce, our advice is to stay informed and seek experienced legal guidance.

Thanks to Matt Randle for joining us on the Modern Divorce Podcast and sharing his valuable insights on this vital topic.

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