Military deployment and the right to be a parent

Military deployment often causes family conflict and serious conflicts with parental rights.  Traditionally, predominantly and almost exclusively fathers lose child custody on account of their deployment.  Nevertheless, it took the relatively rare case of a woman losing child custody to bring the problem into view.

The Army Times
2006 12 25

Changing their tune

Programs ease the plight of single leathernecks

…Some who marry while in the Corps will have a long-lasting relationship. Unfortunately, for many married couples, the stress of military life can cause an irrevocable rift and lead to divorce. Divorce, needless to say, has both financial costs and emotional strains for all involved. Financial expenses such as legal and civilian attorney fees, the costs of dividing property, possibly child support and alimony, and the costs of separate living places put even more stress on the Marine. The emotional stress associated with child custody and care issues and adjustment to being single again can be extremely difficult….(Full Story)

The Army Times

Custody hearing goes on despite deployment

The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday May 29, 2007 10:36:15 EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While Spc. Mary Hollingsworth dispensed weapons at Camp Anaconda outside Balad, Iraq, there was another battle waiting for her at home.

During her deployment, the father of her 5-year-old son filed legal papers trying to get custody. Victor Diaz Jr. portrayed Hollingsworth as more interested in being a soldier than taking care of her son.

Hollingsworth shipped home from her National Guard duties a month early to appear in court, and she has custody — for now.

“I shouldn’t have had to leave before they did,” she said, referring to her unit. “I had to. I mean, we’re talking about my son.”….(Full Story)

The Army Times

Mom, AWOL over child custody, turns herself in

By Katharine Webster – The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Jun 8, 2007 6:07:47 EDT

CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire soldier charged with deserting while trying to ensure her 7-year-old daughter’s safety at home surrendered to the Army in New Jersey on Tuesday, her lawyer said.

New Hampshire National Guard Spc. Lisa Hayes, 32, of Rindge, took emergency leave from Iraq in February after learning of possible domestic violence in her ex-husband’s home, lawyer Linda Theroux said.

The Army extended her leave briefly three times, but finally refused further extensions and charged her with being absent without leave March 25, then with desertion a month later….(Full Story)

The Army Times
2008 01 21

Editorial: Fix custody rules

A New York appeals court has upheld a 2006 ruling that should send chills through the ranks.

The ruling forced divorced Spc. Tanya Towne to give up full physical custody of her son to her ex-husband — simply because she was deploying to Iraq….(Full Story)

It is ironic. The problem of a parent losing his children as a result of military deployment has been around for many years.  Predominantly and almost exclusively fathers lost child custody on account of their deployment.  Nevertheless, it took the relatively rare case of a woman losing child custody to bring the problem into view.

The Army Times
2007 10 22

Handling custody after a divorce

Each state has its own laws on child custody, but generally speaking, there are two forms: legal and physical. Each form of custody provides a parent with different rights, and it’s crucial that parents seeking custody of their children know the different forms of custody and what each form means for them and their wallet….(Full Story)

The Army Times

Deployed troops protected from custody fights

By Pauline Arrillaga – The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Jan 31, 2008 11:15:50 EST

It had become an unintended and heart-wrenching side effect of war: Some deployed military parents left battling on two fronts, for the country they are sworn to defend and the children they were losing in custody disputes because of that duty.

Now family advocates are hopeful that a change to a federal law will help protect these men and women in uniform from having to fight for their kids while serving their country….(Full Story)

However, there is another issue that none of the articles published in The Army Times address.  That is the problem of a man coming back after having served overseas or having even been a POW after having gone through military deployment and finding upon his return that he has to face massive child support arrears and possible incarceration on account of that.

2003 04 04

The Gratitude of Home and Country

Military dads seek fair child support

By Marilyn Gardner | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor ; 2003 04 02

Like many military reservists, Mark Wetzel took a pay cut when he was called for active duty last year. Instead of the $31,000 he earns as a nursing assistant in a Philadelphia hospital, he received $27,000 as a Navy corpsman serving in Kosovo.

But one thing didn’t change: his child-support payments. A family court declined to reduce the $899 a month he pays to his estranged wife and two children.

As more National Guard and reserve units are deployed for the war in Iraq – 216,800 have been called to active duty so far – more noncustodial parents find themselves in the same circumstances that Wetzel did. If they fall behind in child-support payments because of reduced wages, they could incur penalties when they return home…. Full Story

The article in the Christian Science Monitor does not mention another consequence for children of non-custodial dads who were on military deployment.  It should have.  There have been numerous instances where family courts restricted or even prohibited children of servicemen and ex-servicement who are non-custodial dads from having access to their fathers.  The courts hold that their heroic fathers are trained killers and cannot be trusted to come into contact with their children.

There are other, related issues.  I recall that when I went to school that in every ten of the students in my school there was one who experienced that his father got killed or went missing in action.  The last 10,000 POWs returned ten years after WWII from Russia.  Many of them had gone missing in action and then tried to rejoin their families, of whom many had already declared them dead.

That problem still  occurs today.

2003 03 20

Another “privilege” of being a man.  Just in time for another war….

Iraq Blog [Raed vanished at the end of May 2003.  I wonder why and how.]

Things on Iraqi TV today:

….
-yesterday the last 500 prisoners from the Iraq-Iran war were being exchanged. I can’t believe they are still doing this, …that war ended in 1989. every Iraqi family can tell you a hundred heart br[e]aking stories about things that happen when you have thought you[r] brother/father/son is dead and he suddenly appears after 10 years.

:: salam 12:21 AM [+] ::

This entry was posted in Child-Custody Awards, Divorce, Family, Men's Issues, Paternal Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Military deployment and the right to be a parent

  1. ssgbitters says:

    I, unfortunately, am on the other end of this issue. My ex-wife re-enlisted in the Nevada National Guard after we were divorced knowing that she would be deployed for at least 18 months in her 6 year committment. She re-uooed specifically to get the signing bonus. In 7 months, she has already spent the $15,000.

    Now, she has deployment orders. My two year old son is now going to be with me 24/7. She wants to give me $400 a month for child support and call it a day. I don’t think so… $400 won’t even remotely pay for the day care.

    To add insult to injury, she will be making DOUBLE her income while deployed (about $60,000). I don’t think this is fair at all. I got stuck with the mortgage, the bills, and etc when she left. I even have been paying her child support voluntarily.

    I don’t see why she can be so selfish as to re-enlist in the Natl Guard so that she can get money to go shopping, then try and stick me with our son.

    It’s amazing how shallow people are. She’s not in it to “defend freedom” or “serve her country”. She just wanted Louis Voutton purses…

    Anyone know of a good custody attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada???

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