I have been tracking this case since it started. The father is a submariner in the US Navy. That means one or two times a year, he will get into a submarine and disappear for months at a time. He does not see or speak to his family during that time. It is rough life. I am glad he is willing to do this job.
He has a daughter from his first wife, and he is remarried. During the divorce his first wife was convicted of assaulting the daughter. The courts gave sole legal and physical custody to the father. He moved to the Seattle area with his daughter and wife.
Last year, the ex-wife asked the court to award her custody of the daughter. The court then started making orders that appear to violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. One order threatened this deployed submariner and father with sanctions for his failure to appear at a hearing. Think about this: while deployed, submariners are functionally gone from planet Earth.
Even now, the family court seems to be ignoring the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The father is still deployed on a submarine, and yet the court is entering orders modifying child custody.
I have encountered judges in my own practice who make light of the SCRA. Since then, I have seen a larger emphasis placed upon the relief the SCRA offers, but this news article is not the only case of a parent taking advantage of the deployed status of a service member. It is my hope the pending legislation aimed at preventing this kind of result in the future.