Child custody can become a contentious issue in divorce, but for some Americans it can become an even more complicated dilemma. Many California readers may know firsthand just how difficult child custody can be during military divorce. States differ when it comes to child custody rules for military members serving their country. One national legal panel is attempting to simplify child custody rules for active service members all across the country. The panel has given their seal of approval to a set of uniform codes called the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.
Apparently this set of guidelines would help state legislatures adopt consistent child custody laws for military members throughout the entire country. Traditionally, child custody issues have been decided upon a state-by-state basis. Despite the fact that a military parent may have no choice in the matter, their being absent from their children's lives when the other parent decides to file for divorce can often be used against them.
One Navy father found that out firsthand when his wife not only filed for divorce while he was deployed, but also supposedly moved his daughter to another state and refused to allow him to see her. When the man requested that a judge help him get his daughter back to the state of Virginia, the judge claimed that he did not have jurisdiction over the child custody dispute. His apparent reasoning for that statement was the fact that the father had received military orders to leave their state.
This father has apparently had a tough time trying to get his child custody rights back after his military divorce. California service members who have gone through something similar may well understand his pain. Hopefully, the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act will help standardize child custody rules across the country. Military members should not have to fear losing custody of their children when they are sacrificing so much of themselves to serve their country.
Source: Hattiesburg American, "Legal panel: Improve child custody rules for military," Kristin M. Hall, July 18, 2012