February 26, 2011

Military Divorce Issues – Child Custody and Deployment

Defense Secretary Robert Gates reversed the Pentagon’s prior position and now supports legislation that would prevent service members from losing custody of children solely due to deployment.  Previously the Defense Department had not supported such legislation.

This is an interesting issue as it is rarely the case that a servicemember who has been depolyed has done anything else to justify a change in custody.  Such a change could last the remainder of the child’s life unless that solider can prove that switching custody back would be in the child’s best interest upon returning from duty. 

There are still some actions that servicemembers whom are about to be deployed can take under Oregon law, such as a temporary delegation of parental authority.