Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Controversy is heating up over a bill pending in Congress which would preclude courts from considering possible military deployment of a parent when considering the best interest of the child in a custody case and would force courts to review any temporary custody changes made for deployment when the service member returns home. While a number of Veterans Affairs group are supporting the bill, the American Bar Association has expressed opposition.
Patricia Apy, who heads ABA’s committee on military family law, called the bill “well-motivated but not well-considered” and cautioned that it is “unnecessary at best and harmful at worst.”
In the worst case, she warned, it would introduce the possibility of child custody lawsuits in federal courts, something currently handled under state law. It also could create unintended consequences that might leave some military parents unprotected — such as someone on an unaccompanied tour that is not part of a contingency operation or on a routine deployment such as aboard a Navy ship.