How is custody and parenting time handled during deployment?

| May 5, 2021 | family law |

There are many people living in Georgia who are members of the military. These people come from many different walks of life, but they all have to make certain sacrifices as they serve this country. The types of sacrifices the servicemembers make vary depending on the life of the servicemember, but one sacrifice is that they will need to be away from their families for long periods of time when they are deployed.

This means that parents will not see their children while they are deployed. For parents it also means that other people will be caring for their children while they are gone. If the servicemember is married, typically their spouse will be the person to continue this care. However, if the servicemember is divorced or never married to the other parent, the servicemember may have a few more questions regarding not only who will care for their children, but also how it will affect their custody rights, especially if they are the custodial parent.

Options and protections for servicemembers

Parenting plans in Georgia should state what will occur during and after deployments when one parent is a servicemember, even if deployment is not imminent. However, if parents have not established a parenting plan prior to the deployment, typically the non-deployed parent will provide the care during deployment unless they agree to another person providing the care instead.

Georgia law does presume that the parenting plan that existed prior to deployment will resume upon the end of the deployment. There cannot be a modification to the pre-deployment parenting plan until 90 days after the deployment ends as well. The deployment by itself is not grounds to modify either. The parent trying to modify needs to show why the circumstances after the deployment ends have changed and the parenting plan is no longer in the children’s best interests.

Servicemembers in Georgia make sacrifices and the law recognizes that those sacrifices should not be held against them when it comes to parenting their children upon their return. This does not mean parents will not try to do that though and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.