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Child Custody and Military Deployment

On review, child custody decisions in situations where servicemembers face extended deployment at sea or abroad are seldom easy. Where both parents are presumably fit, it is intuitive that the nondeployed parent should generally obtain primary custody; however, where there are problems with parenting by the nondeployed parent, the decisions are much harder. In this office, we are well aware of these issues, and can assist in fashioning appropriate solutions and arguments.

In a widely publicized case, a Michigan court required a sailor to return from a sea deployment and appear, or else lose his daughter to a mother who pleaded no contest to criminal charges of physically abusing their daughter. This judge conducted a hearing without the service member present, and granted temporary custody to the abusive mother (requiring the stepmother to provide all transport services), all in violation of the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, a law dating back to 1940 and one which mandates certain stay provisions apply with regard to deployed soldiers, sailors and airmen.

While we understand the desire of courts to review and follow the trends in law to resolve issues of child custody quickly, we can't abide the sort of heavyhanded applications of process that would trample the longstanding right of servicemembers to litigate claims without having the inconvenient aspects of service negatively impact their legal position. This office stands ready and willing to assist serving soldiers, sailors and airmen in their Kentucky child custody cases, and to help you achieve the fair results you're entitled to.