Military service may complicate the status of many existing legal agreements, particularly when an active service member is deployed overseas for an extended period of time. One of these complications can involve existing court-ordered custody arrangements for children. In particular, if a divorced couple have been granted joint custody of children from their marriage, and one of them is a military service member who gets deployed, this may raise issues with the status of their custodial arrangement. If you find yourself in this situation, you should seek the help of a family law attorney well-versed in custody issues.
Federal Protection for Custody Rights of Deployed Service Members
In December 2014, a bill was enacted into law as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act which addresses the issue above. The law prevents state courts from altering custody arrangements while a parent who is a service member is deployed. Additionally, the law prevents past, present, or future deployments from being used against military members in custody disputes. Although the rule allows for exceptions when a situation is not in the best interests of the child, a deployment by itself can no longer be held against the military parent.
Temporary Modification of Parental Rights and Responsibilities
If one parent in a joint custody arrangement is facing deployment, they may apply to courts in Ohio for temporary orders specifically issued due to active military service. These temporary orders may include delegating all or part of the deployed parent’s time with the child to a relative or to another person who has a close relationship with the child, requiring the other parent to make the child reasonably available for time with the deployed parent when he or she is on leave, or requiring the non-deployed parent to facilitate contact (telephone, e-mail, etc.) between the deployed parent and the child during the period of active military service.
Columbus Family Law Attorney
Preserving custody arrangements and ensuring that parenting responsibilities are handled properly during deployment are serious legal issues. Contact the Law Offices of William L. Geary at (614) 289-1227 to speak to an attorney who can help you make decisions that are best for your situation.