Maggio Law Firm, PC

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How does military deployment affect child custody?

Mississippi parents who are serving in the military and have custody of a child or share custody with the other parent must be aware of how deployment can affect their situation.

Because service members have a duty to their country and will be required to leave their main location of residence to fulfill that duty, it can be complex and worrisome when they think about how their custody will be impacted. Understanding the law is important when dealing with these issues.

For a parent who has any type of custody arrangement, whether it is custody or joint custody with primary physical custody, being ordered to deploy and to move a significant distance away from the residence will result in changes to the custody arrangement.

When there is a temporary order for the child to be in the custody of another, it will end within 10 days of the parent's return. The court does have the right to hold a hearing for emergency custody when the parent returns. This is based on the possibility that the child is in danger or will face irreparable harm.

When there is temporary deployment, any disruption to the child and his or her schedule will not be factored in when determining whether there can be a custody transfer away from the service member. With an order based on this law, the parent who is not deploying must make the child available for the parent who is deploying. There must be a reasonable attempt for the child to have "visits" via webcam, email and other communication methods. Finally, the parent who has deployed must provide the non-deploying parent with information as to the schedule he or she will have.

Balancing a commitment to the military and child custody can be complicated. The law addresses these factors for the deploying parent and the parent who will have custody during that deployment. When confronted with these circumstances, it is possible that disputes will arise. For either side, having legal assistance with these custody issues related to military family law may be critical to the case.

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