Many people do not stop to realize that being married to a member of the military comes with many unique legal issues. We have many military clients and over the years have come to understand these issues. That being said, in today’s blog our Pittsburgh Military Divorce Lawyers discuss the common legal issues faced by military families.
The first hurdle many members of the military face is marriage. When people think of getting married they automatically think of the two people being together in the same location during the ceremony. However, this is not always possible for a couple in which one person is a member of the military and is deployed. Some states, such as California, Texas, Colorado, and Montana, allow for proxy weddings via Skype for military spouses who are deployed overseas. These proxy weddings often involve the need of the deployed military member to grant power of attorney to an in-state representative in order to make the marriage official.
Not only are there issues with deployment and getting married, there are also marriage related issues when it comes to same-sex marriage. It is no surprise that historically the military has opposed the recognition of same-sex couples. However, due to the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down part of DOMA last summer much of this has changed. Without these policies in place it seems that same-sex military members should be able to marry on a base. In fact, last year West Point hosted its first marriage ceremony between two men.
Military families are face unique issues when it comes to a Pennsylvania divorce. The largest issue involved in obtaining the divorce is the court’s jurisdiction to preside over the divorce. While many would think to file for divorce in the location in which the couple lives, it is not always so easy for a military couple. Often times they are moved around frequently and never truly establish a marital domicile in which it would be appropriate to file for divorce. Another issue is that active-duty service members may be able to stay, pause, the divorce proceedings, meaning that spouses that seek to divorce may need to wait to obtain the divorce.
Another major issue faced by military parents is custody. Pennsylvania Child custody orders are typically focused on the best interest of the child involved. When one parent is an active-duty service member and can potentially be deployed overseas this determination becomes tricky. Courts are looking more and more into virtual visitations so as to accommodate parents that no longer live in the same state as their child. This can be an option for a deployed service member but the other parent may have to be flexible with the visitation times and lengths due to the fact that the deployed parent may not be able to video chat with their child at the same time every week.
If you are part of a military couple and seek legal advice concerning any family law issues, including the previously mentioned common issues that military families face, contact our Pennsylvania military family law attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our attorneys provide free consultations to active duty service members that can be done over the phone so as to accommodate to your needs. Contact our attorneys today to set up a consultation.