Maggio Law Firm, PC

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How does deployment affect military child custody?

When two parents in Mississippi are no longer in a relationship with one another and one of them is a U.S. service member, it can make child custody situations complicated. This is especially true if the service member's duties take him or her away from home and away from the child.

Per Mississippi Code Section 93-5-34, if a military parent has primary physical custody of the child, and receives a temporary duty, is deployed or is given mobilization orders that will take him or her far away from home. And, if such acts will have a material effect on the parent's ability to assume his or her parenting responsibilities with regards to the child, then a temporary custody order may be put into place.

However, in general, any temporary custody order will cease no more than 10 days after the custodial military parent returns. Also, the disruption on the child's life due to the military parent's deployment, mobilization or temporary duty will not be factors indicating that a change in circumstances has occurred, warranting a permanent transfer of custody.

When a court makes an order, per that order, the non-deployed parent needs to have the child be reasonably available to the military parent when that parent is on leave. The non-deployed parent should also provide opportunities for the child to keep in contact with the military parent via email, the telephone or webcams. Finally, the military parent needs to give the non-deployed parent timely information about his or her leave schedule.

Military parents, just like non-military parents deserve to have meaningful time with their child after a separation or divorce, and they too deserve to have custody of their child. Though, provisions need to be made when a custodial military parent's duties take him or her away from the child. Fortunately, Mississippi code addresses this. If a parent has questions about how this statute applies to his or her situation, he or she may want to seek the advice of a military family law attorney.

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