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Are military personnel at a disadvantage in child custody cases?


Child custody is difficult for any couple that has to go through it. Because there is the potential for a parent to lose time with their child, emotions tend to run high during child custody battles. The courts have to look at what is in the best interest of the child and often this might not line up with what the parents want.

It is a difficult position for the courts to dictate to the parents how and when they can spend time with their child, but it is something that needs to be done when dealing with child custody. Ideally, the parents will attempt to work out a custody agreement prior to going to court, but unfortunately this does not always happen and the court is left as the final decision maker.

Child custody is made that much more complicated when one or both parents are military personnel. A couple that is separating or divorcing and has to deal with a parent being in the military provides for a potentially complex child custody arrangement. The courts have to recognize that service men and women have rights in the process as well.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is a federal law that protects the rights of those in the military in civil court proceedings, including child support proceedings. The Act requires courts to temporarily stay certain civil proceedings when a party is in the service. The purpose of the law is to make sure service members' rights are not prejudiced when a party is unable to appear in court or respond to court proceedings due to their military service.

Source: www.servicemembers.gov, "Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," accessed Aug. 21, 2014

Source: www.servicemembers.gov, "Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," accessed Aug. 21, 2014

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