As millions of Americans in Mississippi and across the country are shopping, wrapping presents and sitting down to a holiday table overflowing with favorite foods, it is important to remember those who can not be with their families, especially those who are separated from their families because of their commitment to their country. Instead of spending time with family, they are spending time with fellow members of the military. With all the hardships that come with a deployment, many military members would likely say that one of their major stressors deals with how their deployment will impact their child custody arrangements.
Fortunately, a federal bill was recently passed that may help alleviate this issue for deployed members of the military. Originally introduced in 2007, the bill has failed to pass many times, mostly -- its proponents say -- as a result of misunderstandings regarding its impact. However, it passed as a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that now awaits President Obama's signature.
The provision essentially prevents a parent's deployment from hindering his or her child custody arrangement. Some members of the military initially suggested the idea after raising questions about why their jobs were guaranteed but not their relationship with the children. Some speculate that the bill failed previously because it was incorrectly assumed that the bill would give deployed military members an advantage over other parents, which its proponents say is not true.
For many military members, this bill has been a long time coming. While it gives no parent an advantage, it allows parents in Mississippi and across the country to be considered equally in a child custody case. In all cases, the best interests of the child at the center of the case must be carefully considered.
Source: dispatch.com, "Bill Ok'd preserving child-custody rights on deployment", Jessica Wehrman, Dec. 23, 2014