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Divorce for those who serve

44852046_S.jpgWhen Illinois couples decide to divorce, there are several issues that might need to be decided, including child custody, property division, and spousal and child support. These matters can become more complicated when either or both of the spouses are active-duty military members.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 provides a broad range of protections to members of the Armed Forces, particularly those who have been deployed. In addition to protecting the rights of military members in issues regarding debt collection, renter's rights and civil court judgments, there are also protections in family law matters. These protections were put into place because of the difficulties that a deployed service member might experience when trying to respond to a legal case.

However, these protections can be limited in divorce cases where child custody is an issue. The courts generally are concerned with the best interests of the child. For example, a deployed service member may not automatically have a right to a stay in a child custody case because judges would like to provide some stability for the child. This can result in temporary custody orders that favor the other parent who has not been deployed.

Individuals who are involved in a military divorce may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney, particularly since service members can make use of civilian attorneys in certain instances. The attorney may be able to review the case and make recommendations regarding how to proceed in not only the custody portion of the case but in other areas that could have an impact on the client's finances.

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