Being in the military can put a tremendous amount of strain on family relationships. It’s been all over the headlines of late that the divorce rate among military service members is higher than that of civilians. It’s not that hard to see why. Being deployed means being away from your family for extended periods of time and that can put a major burden on any relationship. That’s not to say it’s impossible to carry on a family life and a military one at the same time, but doing so means overcoming several hurdles.
Even after a military divorce, the complications continue. This became apparent following the divorce of a sailor and his former spouse. Soon after, he made allegations that his ex-wife and her boyfriend were neglecting and abusing their young daughter. Eventually, the ex-wife was arrested for assault and the child was taken from her. The sailor was given custody of the girl and the mother was reduced to supervised visits and no overnight stays.
Then, in 2013, the girl’s mother requested that her custody be changed and later that her child support be reduced because she was out of work. The court ordered the sailor to appear in court in June and when he didn’t, the judge believed she had no recourse but to issue a warrant for the sailor’s arrest. Before you jump to conclusions and call him a deadbeat dad, consider the reason — he’s under the sea in a submarine somewhere halfway around the world. As this deployed soldier faced losing his daughter, the public came out in droves to support him. Thanks to this, the hearing was postponed.
Cases like these are far from rare. Soldiers on deployment often have a real disadvantage in matters of divorce and child custody and may need an advocate to stand up for their rights. A Texas attorney may be your mouthpiece if you’re unable to be present and may be able to make sure your voice is heard.
Source: armytimes.com, “Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment,” Lance M. Bacon, July 5, 2014