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Retaining child custody rights during deployment

For those servicemen and women in San Antonio dealing with child custody issues, the potential of being deployed and how that could impact their current custody standing no doubt weighs heavily on their minds. The increase in military deployments due to various conflicts around the globe in recent years has served to spotlight the need to have guidelines and regulations in place specifically dealing with child custody concerns for military members. Indeed, the fact that reports that over 2 million children in the U.S. have had at least one parent deployed since 2001 emphasizes this fact.

Fortunately, Texas has included language in its Family Code that addresses child custody considerations during deployment. According to state law, one of the factors that could potentially prompt a change in custody status is a parent voluntarily relinquishing his or her custodial rights for a period of more than six months. Given that a military deployment can last anywhere between 12-18 months, one may think that this scenario could prompt the court to consider modifying the terms of a child custody agreement.

However, that is not case. The law states in that cases of military deployment or mobilization, or temporary military duty, the six-month relinquishment criteria does not apply. This exception is recognized in the following situations:

  •          Temporary custody changes during an ongoing suit to modify a custody agreement.
  •          Challenges to one conservatorship status.
  •          Actions questioning one’s right to determine the primary residence of his or her children.

The law goes on to further state that one’s military deployment does not represent a significant change in circumstances that would warrant a review of an already-established custody agreement. 

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