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Melissa A. Featherston

Bill may protect Missouri military members in child custody rulings

Serving our country in the military is and honorable thing to do, yet the stress can be overwhelming when dealing with divorce. When child custody arrangements are being considered for a Missouri service member, it can be stressful when one parent thinks they might lose custody when they are deployed overseas. A new bill introduced in Congress is hoping to change that.

The bill was introduced earlier this month, and would restrict judges from using military deployments to determine the best interest of the child in many cases. If the parent in the military is not able to bring their family with them on their deployment, and it is between 60 days and 18 months, they would be protected by this proposed bill.

This would allow for temporary custody to be awarded to someone else during the person's deployment and then after they return the child custody arrangement would return to their pre-deployment situation for Missouri and other service members. Currently it is hard for some service members to serve their country and maintain their custody agreements.

This legislation has passed in the House many times in the past few years, but has gotten stopped in the Senate. Even if the legislation doesn't pass this time, there are other options that people might be able to pursue if they are facing a custody dispute because of a deployment overseas.

Speaking with a family law attorney with experience in child custody disputes can be helpful in making sure everything legally possible is done to maintain your custody agreement while serving our country honorably overseas.

Source: The Washington Post, "Proposal would protect custody rights during deployments," Timothy R. Smith, March 19, 2012

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