The best interests of children are always the primary consideration of courts in child custody disputes. However, determining what is best for children of members of the armed forces in Colorado and other states may be especially challenging. New legislation was passed by the U.S. Senate in December of 2014 to protect the rights of military parents in child custody cases.
The new acts followed several cases of parents losing child custody, including a 2014 order for the arrest of a deployed officer who failed to attend a custody hearing in court because he was serving the country aboard a U.S. Navy submarine at the time. The petty officer was held in contempt of court in another state. Public pressure led to the lifting of the arrest order, and the service man’s custody rights of his 6-year-old daughter were temporarily suspended for the duration of his deployment.
Under the new legislation, military parents on active duty overseas will not face punishment for non-appearance in court for custody hearings. No modifications will be made to existing custody orders and parenting plans while a parent is deployed. However, courts may step in if a child’s best interests are threatened.
Military parents can now be saved the additional stress concerning child custody interference while they are away risking their lives to protect the freedom of all Americans. The new acts will rectify the previous loophole that threatened the custodial rights of parents. To provide additional peace of mind, the services of Colorado family law attorneys who focus on protecting the rights of those in the armed forces may be invaluable.
wilx.com, “Governor Signs Bill Protecting Military Parents”, June 10, 2015