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Child CustodyLaw Enacted to Protect Military Parents

November 11, 2008

Today was Veteran’s Day. From my window on Fifth Avenue, it seemed like the biggest loudest parade in years. In view of this holiday designed to give recognition to those who served this country, it seems appropriate to note a new law which was enacted with little or no fanfare.

While protecting the countries’ interests, members of the military unselfishly make great sacrifices and put all aspects of their life on hold. The tragedy of war would be greatly compounded if permanent changes of custody of children were granted while a child’s parent was serving the country and was deployed overseas. Recently, a law was enacted to prevent this unjust result.

As provided in the law’s  memorandum:

This new bill prohibits a court from making a permanent change in an existing custody order when a custodial parent has been activated, deployed or temporarily assigned to military service and cannot care for his or her children for that reason. The bill protects the best interests of the child, who will clearly be affected by the absence of the parent, by allowing the court to make temporary modifications to the existing custody order while the military parent is so deployed.

While the Court is empowered to make temporary changes, if necessary, to protected the best interests of the children, when the military deployments ends, there is to be a hearing on the issue of the change in custody. 

This is a wise piece of legislation, designed to protect the interests of children and their military parents from opportunistic parents, seeking to permanently change custody only because the other parent deployed in the military.    While a temporary change in custody may be justified during a deployment, the deployment should not  be the sole basis for a permanent change in custody. 


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