Law for deployed military protects father’s custody rights

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Fathers’ Rights on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Any parent faced with a change of custody case can benefit from consulting an attorney who is aware of any law, whether federal or passed by the legislature of Missouri, that could support the parent’s continued custody of the child.

Divorced parents allege a variety of reasons for requesting a change of custody of a child. Unfortunately, many parents are not interested in retaining custody and do not fight the change of custody. But in a recent case, a father who was prepared to fight to keep custody of his daughter almost lost that right because he was simultaneously preparing to fight other battles.

The father is in the U.S. Navy, and was aboard a submarine in the Pacific Ocean at the time he was required to appear in court to defend against a petition for temporary custody by his ex-wife. The judge presiding over the case had indicated that she would have to issue a bench warrant for the sailor’s arrest if he failed to show up for the proceeding.

The ex-wife had lost custody of the daughter due to allegations of neglect and child abuse. She had been able to increase her contact with the child over time and eventually filed for temporary custody, based on her allegation of the instability of military life.

Fortunately, after a barrage of attention to the case that included social media, the judge took notice of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act — which requires a court to stay or postpone proceedings when a member of the military is deployed.

In this case the father’s right to defend continued custody of his daughter has been preserved due to the federal law protecting his rights while serving his country. Although most child custody cases do not have such unusual circumstances, every child custody case must be decided on its own merits.

Source: Stars and Stripes, “Submariner who can’t attend custody hearing given last-minute reprieve,” Ed Friedrich, June 22, 2014

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