Child Custody and Military Service

Photo credit: Benjamin Manley. A woman sits on a bench, back to the camera, with her arms around two small children

Deployment of a parent can have an obvious impact on child custody plans, creating stress on parents and children.

Many State laws on divorce and child custody do not include anything specific about military service.  A special project of the U.S. Department of Defense called "USA 4 Military Families" is trying to change that.  The goal of the project is to make sure that military service is never the sole reason why a servicemember loses custody or visitation.

The Project keeps track of States that have passed laws that take military service into account in making child custody and visitation decisions.  At present, it rates 36 states as 'green' for addressing some aspect of the difficulties facing parents who temporarily must give up custody of their children or who must forgo visitation because of military service.  A map of those states is provided here.

If you need help in a custody or parental rights dispute as a result of your military service, use the "about me" tab and search box on this website  to look for possible resources in your State.