There are military personnel stationed in Sarasota and other cities throughout the U.S., many of whom have families. Like civilian families, military families can also face personal legal issues including divorce and custody issues. Military family law issues, however, can be made much more difficult when they are ongoing while one of the people involved is deployed.
A law that was recently signed into effect in New Mexico is aimed at preventing military parents from facing child custody issues while deployed. According to reports, the law will prevent parents from seeking an adjustment to a child custody agreement if the other parent is a deployed service member. Not only is a deployed parent unable to attend hearings, it can sometimes be difficult to have any communication at all. This can make it nearly impossible for them to plead their case. Under the new law, a parent serving in the armed forces will not have to worry about fighting for custody during a deployment.
The new law also seeks to ensure the relationship between parent and child remains in tact throughout a deployment. Under the law, a deployed parent can have a member of their family or a friend take over their visitation while they are at war. It also requires the child’s other parent to ensure their child stays in contact with the deployed parent during the course of their overseas assignment through phone calls, letters or email.
Other states may eventually follow New Mexico, but until then deployed parents outside of that state will likely continue to face family legal issues both at home and while serving abroad. Like civilian parents, military personnel who are involved in a child custody dispute may benefit from consulting with an attorney about their case to ensure that he or she is protected.
Source: KRQE News, “New law protects service members’ parental rights,” Gabrielle Burkhart, Mar. 1, 2014