Military service may impact child custody decisions

Military service men and women who serve our country here in the U.S. and abroad face a unique challenge when it comes to balancing their military careers and personal lives. Florida military personnel in the process of getting a divorce will find it interesting to learn that their military career and military life may impact how a judge determines child custody and support issues.

In the case of a 33-year-old Air National Guard, after a seven-year marriage, she filed for divorce from her husband. The couple has two children aged 7 and 4 and, and they agree on issues of property, child support and a parenting plan. However, they have been unable to agree on the custody of their two children.

The judge presiding over the case ruled that given the uncertainty of deployment, which the 33-year-old may face, it will be difficult for her to provide a stable environment for her children. As a result of this issue, the court awarded the husband custody of the children and ordered the wife to pay child support. But she has visitation rights. Further, the judge found both parents fit and proper but noted that the 33-year-old's military career was a factor in his decision. She has appealed the decision.

The state where her case was filed has a new law that went into effect in August 2011, and, in essence, it states that military membership, deployment and the like shall not be sufficient to justify an order pertaining to custody and parenting time.

Fit and proper parents should not be denied custody of his or her children solely because of their military career. Every state is different. For military personnel facing similar issues, they should contact an expert in the matter of family law in their area to understand any changes in the law and their rights.

Source: Omaha.com, "Military mom's career figured in custody decision; she's filed appeal," Sarah Schulz, Dec. 27, 2012

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