When you and your spouse divorce, you create a parenting plan that details exactly how you split custody. Both of you rely on this plan for your individual schedules. But what happens when the military places you on active duty?

When you leave for active duty, your former spouse may be upset about the abrupt change in the parenting plan. But certain laws protect you from your former spouse taking action against you.

Temporary change to the parenting plan

Once you receive notice of your military deployment, you must give your former spouse at least two weeks of notice. As a member of the military, Georgia allows you to create a temporary change to your parenting plan. You can have someone else step in for you to take care of your child while you can’t. This lets you adjust the parenting plan while you are away, but then resume it once you get back.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, gives you federal protection against certain civil actions. Any service member on active duty with the military has protection with this act.

If your former spouse becomes frustrated that the military calls you away and tries to change the custody arrangement while you are away, the SCRA will give you time to react. You can ask the court to wait until you get back from deployment before starting the court process. You can also get a 90-day automatic stay in the court process. This makes sure that your former spouse can’t use your absence as an advantage in changing the child custody agreement.

Laws let you fight any custody challenges

Your former spouse may try to use your military service as an excuse to reduce or remove your custody rights. But laws do exist to make sure you have a chance to be present in court for any proceedings.

While your military service can make child custody arrangements difficult, you can still make sure that you have a fighting chance to keep custody of your child.