Troops Must Also Fight for Custody

Ex-spouses use deployment as an argument against military parents
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2008 3:44 PM CST
This image provided by the US Army shows Army Spc. Monica Brown, who received a silver star at an award ceremony at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/US Army - Spc. Micah E. Clare)
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(Newser) – They already risk their lives daily in Afghanistan and Iraq, but members of the US military increasingly face a different kind of fight on the home front: custody battles. As military divorce rates rise, so too do the number of ex-spouses of troops using deployment as a legal argument in attempts to regain custody, the Washington Post reports.

When troops with custody “go away for 15 to 18 months, it opens the door to these challenges,” said an attorney representing one military mom. Some states, like Virginia, have statutes barring any custody changes while a parent is deployed, but many do not. "They say, 'Just let it go and fix it when you get home,' " said the mom, referring to her superiors. "But most of the time when you do that, it is too late." Congress plans to hold hearings on this next year.