Minnesota residents may be interested in the story of a congressman who has been on a mission to return our servicemen and women to equal footing in child custody cases. The new defense bill includes language that may do just that. The law was motivated by cases like those of one servicewoman who returned from deployment to learn she had lost custody of her child, in part, because she was “absent” while serving her country.
This led to a nearly eight-year battle by the woman and representative Mike Turner from Ohio to eliminate the potential for state courts to use military service against a parent. In other words, the new law will preserve any pre-deployment child custody arrangement ensuring these types of cases do not happen again. This bill was introduced as part of the 2014 defense authorization measure that Congress recently passed.
While the new rules are certainly a change in course, they are in no means an absolute bar to a custody change or an absolute protection from a change in status. In reality, there are numerous rules and regulations affecting every single dispute. And, the interaction between these laws can have unexpected results for parents.
Military parents who are currently going through a divorce or separation and have questions about their child custody rights may want to seek the help of a professional. In the end, it is important to make sure red tape does not get in the way of an effective custody arrangement or the best interests of the child.
Source: Navy Times, “New custody rules for troops in defense bill,” Leo Shane III, Dec. 15, 2014