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Military moms and dads face unique child custody challenges: part I

Members of the U.S. military sacrifice much to protect and defend our country and way of life. Despite their heroic acts, the men and women who serve in our armed forces are normal human beings and, in addition to their military duties and responsibilities, they face may of the same challenges as civilians. Perhaps some of the greatest challenges facing active and deployed military servicemembers relate to divorce and child custody.

Tennessee residents with normal nine-to-five jobs often struggle to make a marriage work. Add in the complexities and challenges associated with being separated for months and participation in dangerous and confidential missions and it's no wonder that the marriages of U.S. military servicemembers frequently end in divorce. When a military parent is facing a divorce, matters related to child custody are often top-of-mind.

Men and women who serve in the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force may be forced to move or relocate. In cases where a military dad or mom is separated or divorced from a spouse, issues surrounding relocation and child custody are often complex and may become contentious.

As a general rule, family courts that deal with child custody and visitation issues make decisions based upon the best interests of a child. Therefore, when it comes to a military parent and relocation, much depends on current custody agreements, parental involvement and how a move would serve to benefit or harm a child.

Child custody matters are subject to state law provisions and can therefore be further complicated by an out-of-state move. For these reasons, it's important that separated or divorced military dads and moms seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles military divorces and understands the complex issues that may arise when it comes to child custody and relocation.

In our next post, we'll continue to discuss issues related to military divorce and child custody and protections afforded to military parents under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Source: Military OneSource, "Child Custody Considerations for Members of the Military," July 23, 2014