Military Child Custody Laws in Texas
While military child custody cases resemble traditional ones, for the most part, situations like deployment and relocation add an extra layer of consideration. In response to a growing need, laws are coming into play that ensures the rights of military parents are protected. It’s best to have a military divorce lawyer who can help you navigate often complicated proceedings.
San Antonio divorce attorneys, Bineham & Gillen understand that custody cases can be hard to navigate. We want to help you understand the protections and things in place that can help get you through your proceedings. Below you’ll find details on what you need to know to start this process for you and your family.
A common misconception is that you can’t have custody of your children because you’re on active duty. It will take more planning than civilian families, but it is completely possible to have full, shared, or joint custody of your children while you are actively serving.
Family Care Plan
If one or both parents are in the military, a Family Care Plan which outlines the details of care in the event of deployment, is required, whether it is long-term deployment or short-term deployment. Many families consider appointing a special power of attorney that assigns a guardian for your child.
This agreement must be reviewed by the service member’s commanding officer and updated yearly. Having a military lawyer review these arrangements for potential issues is always a good idea.
Visitation During and After Deployment
Texas laws state that noncustodial parents may designate another person to have temporary visitation rights on his or her behalf during the deployment period. These visitations are based on the child’s best interest but are usually granted to the person chosen by the deployed parent.
In many cases, this looks like visitation being granted to stepparents or grandparents. Military parents in Texas can ask the court to award makeup visitation after coming back from deployment.
The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) allows states to adopt a standard procedure for child custody cases in military divorces. While Texas isn’t part of the 10 states that have adopted the act, they have other similar legislation in place. Most states either have adopted the act, something similar, or their adoption of UDPCVA is pending.
Some of these considerations include:
- Ensuring the deploying parent notifies the other parent as soon as possible.
- Prohibiting the courts from using past or future deployments as a factor in meeting the child’s best interest.
- Setting the groundwork for out-of-court custody and visitation arrangements.
- Allowing for expedited proceedings when one parent is facing deployment and prohibits a permanent ruling without the deploying parent’s consent.
- Establishing a procedure for when a temporary custody arrangement must be terminated.
How We Can Help You
Our child support lawyers in San Antonio have helped military families for years. Our attorneys have an excellent history of representing members of the military and can advise parents about their rights and help them understand the law as it relates to their specific circumstances. Contact us today so we can represent you and your family.