Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

Man serving in the Navy almost loses child custody while deployed

Many people in Illinois have gone through child custody battles. These can happen as part of a divorce or when a child is born out of wedlock. Child custody battles can be very contentious, as dealing with children can be a very emotional experience. The battle may also continue throughout the time the child is a minor. Child custody matters can be very complicated for anyone, but can be even more complicated for people serving in the military.

One man in the Navy found this out when he missed a court date while he was deployed on a submarine. A judge was prepared to take custody over his daughter away if he missed a court date, which he would have done since he was deployed. Many people were outraged by this. Luckily, his attorney was able to argue that the hearing should be continued under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

This federal act allows a service member to have a family matter continued until they are able to appear, if they are deployed. It is a law that has been around for a while to protect their rights while deployed, but unfortunately it is enforced at various levels around the country.

Whether a person is in the military or not, the same factors are weighed during a child custody dispute. These include, but are not limited to, the wishes of the child if they are old enough, their adjustment to schools, their adaptation to each parents' home and the other people that live in the respective homes. Ultimately the decision is guided by the best interests of the child.

Many parents in Illinois have had or are going through child custody disputes. The dispute can be complicated and emotional. It is important to understand the legal factors that go into a child custody decision to ensure the best interests of the child are met.

Source: Army Times, "Custody case highlights a dilemma of deployment" Lance M. Bacon, July 5, 2014

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