MILITARY CHILD CUSTODY ISSUES
Service members are often required to put service to country ahead of self and family. As a result, a military parent can feel penalized when involved in child custody disputes. In fact, courts are required to consider the stability of a parent’s home when making custody decisions. This often results in service members getting much less time with their children than the non-military parent.
Tennessee Military Divorce Lawyers Experienced in Dealing with Child Custody Issues
At Richter Family Law Group, P.C., we are dedicated to helping military families navigate the complex area of child custody. We have the experience necessary to handle even the most complex and contentious child custody case.
Custody cases can be complicated and often involve testimony by child psychologists, social workers, and other health care providers as well as teachers and babysitters among many others. To complicate matters in military custody cases, parents can be required to move under PCS or Permanent Change of Station orders. In many cases, Tennessee’s relocation statute makes moving outside Tennessee difficult.
It is important to find and hire a Tennessee divorce attorney experienced in military divorce law. An experienced Tennessee military divorce attorney can take steps to minimize the impact military service has on child custody cases. At Richter Family Law Group, P.C., we are frequently called upon to add provisions in parenting plans and other custody documents that take into account the complex dynamics found in military families.
Attorneys with Experience Drafting Permanent Parenting Plans for Military Families
In all divorce cases in Tennessee where children are involved, the court is required to sign a Permanent Parenting Plan Order setting forth how you and your spouse will parent your children. When considering a Permanent Parenting Plan, the best interest of the children is paramount. The vast majority of Permanent Parenting Plans in Tennessee are agreed to by the parents, either by sitting down together and working out the issues or by submitting the disputed issues to mediation by a qualified mediator for suggestions and recommendations.
Once the plan is presented to the court, the judge will review the plan, question one or both parents, and make a determination of whether the plan is in the best interest of the children. Upon finding the plan provides adequate and sufficient provision for the care, custody, and support of the children, the court will sign the plan making it an order of the court.
Special problems often exist when dealing with military families. For example, it is usually difficult to fashion a standard parenting schedule when one of the parents is a service member on active duty. In such cases, we often insert language in the parenting plan that allows for parenting time by the service member anytime the service member is on leave, so long as the service member gives reasonable notice to the other parent.
Another situation is where the service member has primary custody of the children but is deployed. In such a situation, an arrangement can be made to transfer physical custody from the deploying military parent to the other parent by drafting an agreed order prior to the deployment. The order should detail the circumstances of the custody transfer and outline the specific or expected dates of departure, expected date of return, educational care, and any other custodial arrangements. Such an order must make it clear that the children will be returned immediately to the deploying parent without the need to return to court to request relief.