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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri child support: Military member loses custody battle

Missouri military members may commiserate with a woman fighting a custody battle over her two young children. The woman met her husband after she had enlisted in the military. They had two children together, but she filed for divorce a few years later. Although thier separation was moistly amicable, they could not come to an agreement on custody of their kids. What resulted was a custody battle that so far has ended with the woman being forced to pay child support and only receiving visitation rights.

A judge in the initial case claimed she had the right to be in the military, but the possibility of a deployment could cause difficulties for her trying to provide a home free of disruptions concerning the possibility of deployment. The judge awarded custody to the father and ordered her to begin paying child support. While he ruled both parents were fit, the blame for the ruling was placed on her military career.

She has appealed her case based upon a law that passed in 2011. The law prevents a military parent's affiliation with the armed services or any relocation or deployment from being considered in rendering a judgment on custody or visitation issues. If it is determined that the ruling was based solely on her career choice, it may run afoul of the state statute.

Missouri parents who serve in the military may feel fearful of child support and custody issues simply by virtue of their chosen professions. This is when it may be a good time to ensure one is knowledgeable about laws concerning child custody and divorce. Doing so could help if one is ever involved in a case similar to the one this woman is going through.

Source: Omaha.com, "Military mom's career figured in custody decision; she's filed appeal," Sarah Schulz, Dec. 27, 2012

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