Nashville Family Lawyer: Settling Child Custody in a Military Divorce

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With military divorce there are many uncertainties. A Nashville Family Lawyer can help you develop contingency plans so that you can be sure all your grounds are covered.

Being in the military and having a spouse in the military is tough enough as it is. Add children to the equation and you’re dealing with an even bigger hardship. Not only is it extremely difficult emotionally for the parent who is deployed to be away from their children for months, even years on end, it’s equally as straining on the heart strings for the parent who is single-handedly caring for the household and comforting the children in their absence. Because of the nature of military service demands, military marriages often times don’t get the attention they need. Communication can prove to be a trying challenge and many relationships suffer great consequences as a result. When marital issues occur, it’s important for servicemembers and their families to seek the counsel of a Nashville family lawyer.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for servicemembers to face divorce. In fact more than 30,000 military marriages ended last year, the most the Pentagon had seen in a decade. Divorce is never easy and always has the potential to be a complex, unsettling, and often painful experience but military divorces involving children can be a battle of their own. In military divorces, determining how parenting responsibilities will be divided and shared is further complicated by the uncertainty regarding future deployments and/or tentative stateside assignments. Seeing as military parents have two active duties–to serve as a parent to their children and to serve their country–the case can easily be made that they don’t have the time to fulfill both roles sufficiently. Of course this puts them at a huge disadvantage as far as their custody rights are concerned. To protect their rights to parenting time with their children, they should consult with a Nashville family lawyer.

You see child custody cases are never uniform, especially for those in uniform. Each and every case is subject to the specific family dynamic at hand. When awarding custody in a military divorce, courts take many factors into consideration, including each parent’s willingness and ability to care for the children’s physical, emotional and intellectual well-being. In most cases, one spouse is granted the responsibility of the residential parent while the other assumes the role of the nonresidential parent. This can often be a hard call to make as the civilian parent is not necessarily a shoe in. Sure they do not have to answer to the demands of the military, but keeping the best interests of the children in mind, one can also argue that they don’t have the attractive, free of cost, military benefits such as excellent child care, better school systems and a safe, supportive environment on base, to offer. With that being said, military service members are often called upon to move during their career. When it comes down to it, military custody decisions are about accommodating the children and the service member’s military obligations–no cut and dry task. Luckily, a Nashville family lawyer can help you strike a fine balance between the two.

Regardless of which parent is granted custody, it’s important that both parties cooperate with one another to ensure that the visitation rights are respected and that the children are always in good hands. As a service member you can never be sure when and where you’ll be called to duty and for how long so it’s particularly important that military families have a thorough parenting plan in place. That way there is no room for confusion or argument in the event that the military parent is faced with deployment or an assignment that does not allow the children to accompany them or conflicts with their visitation rights as the nonresidential parent. For example, in the case that the military parent is the residential parent and gets put on an assignment that does not allow the children to tag along, someone (as indicated in the parenting plan) would be appointed the residential parent for that time period. Of course circumstances can change and the specifics of the parenting plan can be modified accordingly. Because there are so many factors and legalities to consider in a military divorce, before moving forward with a custody decision, it’s to your benefit to employ the expert guidance of a Nashville family lawyer. Take the first step toward resolving your legal issues by scheduling an appointment with the experienced attorneys at Cheatham, Palermo and Garrett today (615) 790-0982!


The attorneys of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, are experienced in the interpretation and application of Tennessee family laws and have been committed to protecting the financial and parental rights of men and women in Franklin and throughout Middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. They bring a wealth of legal knowledge and experience to each case they handle, providing their clients with skilled representation in the areas of Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Prenuptial Agreements, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Music/Intellectual Property, and Juvenile Court.