Military parents face a number of unique challenges. For those caught up in child custody disputes, being away on a deployment can have a huge impact on their future ability to spend time with their children. However, a new law passed by the Georgia legislature could help prevent parents' performance of their military duties from interfering with custody issues.
Protection for Parents on Military Assignment
Under the old law, the time a parent had to spend away from home on military deployments and for other official duties could count against him or her in a court's child custody decision. Sometimes, the non-military parent even took advantage of such absences to push for full custody.
The Georgia Military Parents Rights Act helps level the playing field for military parents fighting at home for their kids. Under the provisions of the act, judges are prohibited from issuing final custody orders during a parent's deployment, and cannot do so until 90 days after the end of the deployment, at least absent that parent's consent. The 90-day period is intended to allow time for returning military parents to prepare a case.
In addition, under the Military Parents Rights Act a parent's absence caused by the performance of his or her duty may not be considered as the sole factor in asking a court to modify a custody arrangement. Finally, the act facilitates expedient court processing of temporary custody modification plans that establish blueprints for a child's care prior to a parent's deployment.
A Bright Outlook
The Military Parents Rights Act passed with unanimous approval in both the Georgia Senate and House. Governor Nathan Deal officially signed the bill into law on May 11th.
While the Georgia Military Parents Rights Act remains largely untested, it very well may lead to better outcomes for military parents and their families. If you have questions about how a military deployment could impact your child custody situation, contact an experienced Georgia family law attorney.