Military members sacrifice a lot for their country, and at times, this includes sacrificing time with their families. Receiving deployment orders can take a parent away from their child for an extended period of time.
This situation becomes complicated when a service member is a single parent. Fighting for custody of a child is much harder when you are facing deployment overseas.
Changing the custody order
Your custody agreement is not set in stone, but it is the court that has the power to alter the document. However, changes cannot take place without your knowledge. Through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, military parents have special protection for custody agreements. According to the law, any court hearing to decide the custody of a child must wait until a deployed parent can make arrangements to settle the case.
Single-parent service members cannot lose their kids over deployment orders either. A judge cannot use orders as the basis for determining which arrangement aligns with the “best interest” of the child.
Changing custodial rights
If deployment lasts for more than 90 days, a parent may need to relinquish their custodial rights to another family member. The parent must put this designation in writing and deliver the paperwork to the other parent. A court hearing on a time-sharing modification establishes a new custody agreement, and upon the completion of the deployment, the parent must return to court to modify the agreement to get back custody rights.
Being in the military and receiving deployment orders can change how your custody agreement works. Thankfully, there are laws and processes in place to ensure the protection of your parental rights during this time.