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What are my child custody rights during military deployment?

As a member of the armed forces, you understand that serving your country involves making a number of personal sacrifices. That does not necessarily mean, however, that you have to completely relinquish your rights as a parent in the event that you are deployed. No matter if you are recognized as your child’s custodial or noncustodial parent, Texas family law and military guidelines account for your legal rights and obligations to your child.

According to the Texas Attorney General, child custody and visitation arrangements can be made for occasions when you are on military deployment. If you are the custodial parent, for instance, you and your child’s other parent can establish a temporary custody order. In the event that the Texas family court system has to set up temporary custody arrangements for your child because an agreement is not already established, the court can take several factors into consideration. First and foremost, the best interests of the child or children in question are at the forefront of any custody decisions. Temporary child custody preference may be first given to your child’s noncustodial parent and then to another party of your choice. The court also has the option of appointing temporary custody to a different party altogether in some cases.

If you are the noncustodial parent, you can make arrangements for another person to exercise your visitation rights during military deployment in many cases. It may also be possible to make up for lost visitation time once you return from temporary duty or deployment. Another important thing to keep in mind is that child custody and visitation arrangements that are made for instances involving military deployment are generally temporary. Therefore, the original terms of your custody order will likely be instituted upon your return. Also remember that the information provided here may not be relevant to your specific case.

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