Service members hoping Family Protection Act passes

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

The divorce rate in the United States is approximately 50 percent, but those serving in the military may experience a higher divorce rate because of time apart and the stress that comes from serving our country. With the increase in divorces, comes an increase in child custody issues. For those service members going through a divorce, they understand that they are going into this battle with their choice of career against them. But this may change because it was announced last week that the House Armed Services Committee is trying to garner support from the Pentagon that would strengthen service members' rights in child custody disputes.

The committee is asking for support of the Family Protection Act, which would prevent family court judges from ruling against service members in child custody cases based only on their past or future deployments. When you are in the military you don't have a lot of say in where you will be deployed and advocates for this legislation feel that this shouldn't be counted negatively against a service member. Deployments are unavoidable with some service members and the committee believes that a service member should not be judged on this when awarding primary custody of their children.

Supporters of the bill feel that this would take away any disadvantage that a service member may have and level the playing field when it comes to child custody.

This bill was first introduced in 2008 and has successfully passed the House of Representatives, but it continues to fail in the Senate because of past opposition from the Defense Department. Now, advocates for the bill are hopeful because the Family Protection Act was endorsed last year by the Pentagon.

Not everyone is in support of the bill, but those in favor of it believe that the benefits of the program outweigh the negatives. The potential for a military parent to lose custody because of their job should help pass the legislation.

Source:, "Law Would Strengthen Troops' Child Custody Rights," Charlie Reed, April 10, 2012

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