The U.S. House of Representatives approved an amendment last week to protect deployed members of the military from losing custody of their children while they are deployed on a contingency operation.
The sponsor of the amendment, Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio), said:
“My amendment provides certainty to service members deployed in a contingency operation that their child custody arrangements will be protected…In some cases, courts are overturning an established custody arrangement while the custodial parent is serving our country in a contingency operation, such as Iraq or Afghanistan.”
Part of the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill
The amendment would be attached to the 2008 defense authorization bill, and would prevent state courts from making permanent changes in child custody while a service member is deployed on a contingency operation. Under the amendment, a state judge cannot change or amend a previous child custody judgment and cannot order a new custody arrangement while a parent is deployed, with one exception: a temporary custody order may be issued if there is clear and convincing evidence that it would be in the best interest of the child or children to do so.
The defense bill passed in the House on May 17, but is not yet a law. The Senate’s Armed Services Committee will write its own version of a defense bill, and then any differences between these two bills plus any objections from the President will have to be ironed out before a final version of the defense bill is passed and becomes law.
Peace of Mind for Service Members
“Much is asked of our service members, and mobilizations can disrupt and strain relationships at home,” says Rep. Turner. “This additional protection is needed to provide them peace of mind that the courts will not take away their children because they answered the country’s call to serve.”
Members of our armed services fight for us, let the Edmunds Law Firm fight for you. If you have questions about child custody for deployed members of the military please call (760) 634-7630 or fill out our contact form.