On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Military Divorce on Thursday, January 3, 2013.
It is hard enough for a parent to leave their child and be deployed to another country. However, the possibility of deployment is something that is understood when signing up for the military. In cases where there was a divorce and child custody stipulations, a parent should be able to rest assured knowing that everything will be handled properly in the case of deployment.
Sadly, for one father this was not the case and he found himself having to go through a year and a half battle to get the stipulations of a custody agreement back in place.
For a brief background, the military father was married to a woman who was also in the military. In 2000 their son was born and in 2001 the two divorced. The father was granted primary custody, which meant he got to decide where the child was going to go to school. The father was very clear that he wanted the boy to a school that was close to the camp where he was based.
Since there was the chance of deployment for these parents, the stipulation of the child custody agreement was that if the father was deployed, the boy would go to live with his mother. However, once the father returned, the boy would go back to live with his father.
In 2009 the father was deployed to Afghanistan. While he was overseas, the boy went to go live with his mother. At this time that the mother asked the courts if her son could go to a different school, one that was closer to her home. The judge ruled in favor of the mother’s request.
Feeling this was in violation of their custody agreement, when the father got home in August 2010 he brought the issue back to court. This went on for the next year and a half until finally a panel of appellate court justices ruled the lower court judge erred in his decision. Recently, the records of the court case where obtained and reported on.
In looking at a case such as this one, it really does highlight the fact that parents in the military face a unique set of challenges when it comes to divorce and child custody. This is why it’s important to talk with an attorney who has experience in handling military divorce and family law issues in Illinois.
Source: Patch.com, “Deployment Shouldn’t Deprive Soldier of Child Custody, Court Rules,” Jan. 2, 2013