Reps. Turner, Herseth Sandlin Welcome Defense Secretary Gates’ “Fresh Look” at Military Child Custody Rights Following a meeting at the Pentagon today with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. Representatives Michael R. Turner and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) expressed appreciation for the Secretary’s acknowledgement of the problem posed by use of deployment as a criterion in deciding child custody cases, as well as for his commitment to “take a fresh look” at protecting the rights of our servicemen and women in child custody disputes.
Protecting Child Custody Rights for Service Members Should be a Priority The stories are too frequent: a service member, many times a single mom, is called to serve her country and is given a short time to wind down her personal business and deploy. She makes temporary custody arrangements for her children usually with her former spouse, sometimes in the form of a non-binding family care plan. The mom is then deployed. Upon return from deployment, she goes to pick up her child, and finds out that her ex-spouse won’t relinquish custody without a court order.
Taking Military Parents’ Child Custody Rights to Capitol Hill For the third year in a row, I have included legislative language in the annual defense budget to strengthen child custody protections so mothers and fathers in uniform will not be forced to lose custody of their children due to their military service.
Amendment Protects Custody Rights of Deployed Troops In January, a provision I sponsored was signed into law to protect the custody rights of our soldiers. In family court proceedings, judges had been using the military service and deployment of parents as grounds to change their custody arrangements.