I am considering entering into the National Guard. It is going to require 15 weeks of boot camp. I share joint physical custody of my two kids with my ex wife. If I leave for boot camp, will I lose custody of my children? I would not put it past her to file something while I’m gone.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) helps protect your legal rights when in active duty, including the National Guard. Under SCRA, if your ex-wife files a motion to modify custody, you will get an automatic stay of proceedings for a minimum of 90 days. In other words, all court proceedings are postponed. The stay can be longer than 90 days at the discretion of the family court Judge.
With respect to how long term deployment affects your custody rights, there are no guarantees. The best interest of the child still governs all child custody determinations in Nevada, even in cases where one parent is in the service. In my experience, however, judges are sympathetic to the difficulties of parents who must temporarily give up custody of their children or who must forgo visitation when separated from their families for an extended period during mobilizations, temporary duty or deployment.
Jessica H. Anderson
Divorce Attorney Reno, NV