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What happens with custody when a military parent deploys?

Kentucky parents who are in the military might wonder what their rights are when they are embroiled in a child custody and visitation dispute. Many military members worry about how possible periods of deployment might affect their child custody and visitation rights.

The state recognizes that military members sometimes have to deploy, and it does not believe that they should lose their custody and visitation rights because of periods of deployment. Instead, the law provides a mechanism by which custody and visitation orders may be modified temporarily while the military parent is deployed.

Under the law, any active duty military member who is deployed may have his or her custody and visitation order revert back to what it was before he or she deployed on his or her return. The same rule applies to members of the National Guard or the Reserves who are sent on federal deployment. Military members are allowed to consent to an extension of the temporary modification beyond the end of their deployments if they wish, but they do not have to do so. Courts may not use a person's military service as the sole reason for granting custody rights to the other parent.

Military members and their former partners should understand that the courts will not treat military service members differently simply because they have the potential to deploy. Parents who are in the military might want to consult with family law attorneys about their military divorce and child custody cases. Family law attorneys who are experienced in representing people who are in the military might help their clients to negotiate child custody and visitation agreements that will work for both the parents and their children. They may also assist their clients with negotiating temporary custody agreements for the times when the military parents will be deployed.

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