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Main Forums => Father's Issues => Topic started by: Zach on Jul 27, 2008, 01:04:56 PM

Title: I need help
Post by: Zach on Jul 27, 2008, 01:04:56 PM
My name is Zach, and I am in the Air Force,deployed to Balad AB, Iraq.  I am stationed at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas.  My wife of about 1 year was going on vacation while I am deployed to Michigan, where we are both from, to visit her parents.  She took our 6 month old daughter with her.  She was supposed to go back to Vegas on July 20.  On July 1st she informed me that she wanted a divorce, and was staying in Michigan with our daughter.  She went back to Vegas, only to move all of her and our daughters things back to Michigan, all while I am in Iraq.  She filed for divorce in Michigan, and I got served last weekend.  I do not want her to be able to take our daughter who was born in Vegas out of the state.  I also do not want to hire a lawyer for this, but I think I will have to.  Is there any advice anyone can give me on this situation?  Thank you very much.
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: FatherTime on Jul 28, 2008, 12:40:18 AM
Hello Zach,

Thank you for serving your country.

I am not an attorney.  But I do suggest getting one.

Check into the "Shared Parenting laws" of both states.  

Here are some general links to save you some time in looking for information regarding your states of jurisdiction:

MICHIGAN RELATED,1607,7-192-29701---,00.html



Your rights will vary because you are enlisted and active in the military, and in a sense of property of the U.S. government. You are in the custody of the U.S. military. Getting custody of your child, while in the custody of the government is not very likely. The reason that I say this is because I want you to understand that barring any major health, safety, and other issues regarding the mother, the courts determination of the "Best Interests of the Child" is (in my opinion) not likely to be in your favor.

Their are many reasons, such as:

 "which parent has been the primary caretaker for the last six months"

 "the ever present, but never mentioned Tender Years Doctrine"  (mother preference)

 "which state is most likely to be the state of the childs future and current home state."

I think that MI is most likely going to be the state of legal jurisdiction.  You didn't mention which state you were served papers from when you were served.  I'm assuming Michigan?  

It's true that Nevada has had and still in a sense has jurisdiction of the child, it's possible that the state of Michigan could determine that "because the mother plans on staying in Michigan, then Michigan can determine that it is most likely to be the state with continuing jurisdiction."  This is something that you could choose to fight and you could try to have Nevada maintain jurisdiction, but she could still move away after she is given custody.  In my opinion, this would be aggravating to you, costly, and in the end all done in vain.  

Please don't react with anger.  I am just trying to give you some helpful advice. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish. I understand the pain that you must be feeling right now.

Try and be positive, think of good things that you can do with your daughter. Take care of yourself and eat.  Keep your head up.  Also, I have some advice for when you are exchanging your daughter with her mother during exchanges.  Keep a diary to log all pickups and dropoffs, who, what, where, when, and why.  AND NEVER GO ALONE.  (until things settle down)

Remember, I'm not an attorney.
But, I don't want you to waste any energy going into the wrong direction.
This is just my opinion.  

Thank you again,

Title: RE: I need help
Post by: Fueledbyjava on Jul 28, 2008, 07:41:44 AM
As a father going through a custody battle right now I can tell you this much: Your readily deployable status and your currently deployed status will not help you. Unless your daughter is in danger by living with your wife or her family, I mean drugs, abuse etc.. it will be very difficult for you to retain custody. If you still want to fight for custody, and I mean it will be a fight, I suggest getting a lawyer that specializes in custody disputes and start documenting any adverse behavior on your spouses part that neagtively impacts your daughter. You must have proof that you are the more responsible and caring parent and that it is in your daughter's best interest to be in your custody. I'll tell you this brother, the deck is severey stacked against you even without the military aspect. The U.S. court system ers to the maternal side in almost every case barring severe msconduct on the part of the mother. Fathers have no rights and you must prove that you are  A: The greatest father the world has ever known, above and beyond what anyone woud consider a great dad. B: that she is the lowest dirtbag on the planet. You must have both of these, as A without B is not enough, especially with how young your daughter is. I have learned all this the hard way yet I continue o fight, that is my choice. This will cost you alot of money,and will be the hardest thing you ever go through. Stay strong.
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: janM on Jul 28, 2008, 05:18:03 PM
FT....he is being deployed. It will be difficult for him to do exchanges with Mom.

OP, you are still in the US, correct? You were served here?

What if he is deployed before the divorce is final? Does the Soldiers and Sailors relief act apply here?
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: wendl on Jul 28, 2008, 07:02:45 PM
Thank you for serving out country!!!!!

I would suggest getting an attorney, things are even harder sicne you are in the military.

Make sure to go to court and ask for a continuance so you can get an attorney if you cannot obtain one by then.

**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: FatherTime on Jul 29, 2008, 12:07:28 AM

I must have misunderstood his statement.  He said that he was deployed.  I thought that meant that he was already there and based out of Las Vegas.  

The best thing that he could do is to get an attorney if he's here or not here.  The distance would make it difficult to handle this matter.  Not to mention the physical and mental battles he faces in Iraq.

If he is still stateside, then he could still represent himself in LV, NV.
But representing yourself in family law is not a cake walk.  

I wonder if a local politician or state Representative or Senator would be able to offer him some assistance?  Are there and military lawyers that could help him with his custody matters or establishing a parenting plan now, but ready for his family when he gets back home?  

There should be some case history for dealing with family law disputes in the military during times of war.  We were in Iraq before.  I wonder what they did back then.

Title: RE: I need help
Post by: Fueledbyjava on Jul 29, 2008, 08:01:13 AM
I believe the SSRI applies if she files while he is dep[loyed. I don't believe it will help him any with the custody. It will help if for example he is deployed on the court date, it will prevent them from issuing a default judgement for her since he is not present in court.
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: gemini3 on Aug 11, 2008, 12:05:08 PM
You have protection under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.  It says:

"Courts must grant active duty service members a stay in cases where current military duty requirements (or military duty in the last 90 days) "materially affect the member’s ability to appear."

To claim this protection, service members must:

    * Send a letter setting forth these facts and list a starting date when he or she will be able to appear.

    * Send a letter from the member’s commanding officer stating the member’s orders."

There is also an amendment to this bill that is currently pending that would prohibit any custody proceedings while you are deployed.

What you need to do:

Find an attorney that specializes in military divorce proceedings.  Have them send a letter to the clerk of court (from the Michigan), with a copy of your deployment paperwork stating that you are deployed and when you will be able to appear.  This will keep anything from happening until you get back and can handle things in person.  If there is someone in Vegas you can trust (like a family member), enlist their help finding the attorney and communicating with them for you.

Hopefully that bill will pass before you get back.  Sorry you're wife is doing this to you.  My husband is military, and his ex pulled the same thing on him five years ago.  Good luck!
Title: RE: I need help
Post by: wysiwyg on Aug 17, 2008, 06:55:06 PM
I am not sure this will help but here goes:  

My daughter is active Army going thru a nasty divorce, she has a DVO on him for the next 3 years, he tried to buy a gun after he was served a RO - the FBI got involved and the judge was called.

Long story short she got temp cust of her kids, they now share 50/50 while awaiting a final hearing.

She had to fill out a family care plan, detailing arrangements for the kids in the event she is deployed, and accounts set up to financially care for them in her absence.  She can name anyone she wants, however in long term deployments she named the childrens father as their caretaker and rightfully so.

Additionally - she was able to get her orders to transfer bases deferred until the final custody hearing and an order is rendered.

Perhaps these 2 things can help you in getting sometihng under way for your situation adn your child.

Regards and thank you for your service.

Military mom and gramma
Title: Re: I need help
Post by: justiceforall on Nov 25, 2008, 11:20:28 PM
I'm new here, husband is in the military and your post caught my attention.  I'm hoping you've gotten all of this worked out by now, it's an older post, but if you haven't, talk to JAG, it's free and they should be able to help you determine your rights under the SSRA.  Good luck.