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Family & Divorce Law

Service member loses child custody temporarily

By Tolison & Williams / August 20, 2014

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is designed to protect military members from losing custody of their children. Colorado service members are sometimes at a disadvantage when dealing with child custody cases. Recently, a judge ordered a service member’s daughter to be transferred into the care of her mother after he failed to show for a court hearing.

A stay was requested in this case based on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which suspends court proceedings while members are performing military service. The law allows service members a 90-day hold, but the judge in this case stated that, under the law, the child is allowed to be placed with the mother until conclusion of the case. Since the father is still deployed until October, the responsibility of flying the child to the mother fell on the stepmother, who stated that she will not do it.

According to reports, the judge is not following the law, which exists to prevent situations like this from happening. There are additional protections under the National Defense Authorization Act that show that deployment is not to be considered in child custody determinations, particularly if it’s a sole factor. In this case, the mother previously lost her child to Michigan Child Protective Services after allegations of abuse and neglect.

When making decisions on child custody, judges weigh out what’s in the best interest of the child. While military members are deployed out of the country for extended periods of time, the law mandates that service members are to be granted a stay for court appearances. Colorado parents who are in the midst of a child custody dispute may benefit from having extensive knowledge of their rights as parents to increase the odds of having favorable outcomes.

Source:, "Deployed submariner loses a round in custody battle", Lance M. Bacon, Aug. 16, 2014

Source:, "Deployed submariner loses a round in custody battle", Lance M. Bacon, Aug. 16, 2014

Tags: Child Custody

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