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Military father encountered custody issues after deployment

When a child custody agreement is made, the parent with primary custody likely expects that he or she will maintain that position as the primary parent in their child's life for an extended period of time. However, certain circumstances may prompt the child custody arrangement to change.

Massachusetts parents who are in the process of making child custody arrangements or who are dealing with a child custody dispute may be interested in the child custody issues of one parent in the military.

This man and his former wife were both active members of the military when they were married. The couple divorced when their son was one year old and the father was granted primary physical custody of their son, though the parents shared custody.

Since the father was still in the military, the custody agreement stated that if the father was deployed, the mother would be the primary custodian until the father returned. In the years immediately following the child custody ruling, the father remained stateside. However, he was deployed several years later and the mother took over as primary physical custodian.

Issues arose when the mother wanted to transfer their son to a school district closer to her home than her ex-husband's. A court granted her the right to transfer her son to a different school. When the father returned to the U.S., it took more than a year for him to receive primary custody of his son again. It took so long for the father to receive custody partly because the mother had received permission to transfer her son to a new school.

This custody dispute arose mainly because of the father's deployment; however, other families may encounter similar custody issues for other reasons. When a parent faces a custody dispute, resolving it as quickly as possible is likely a goal. A family law attorney can be invaluable when resolving custody disputes like this one.

Source: KPBS, "Camp Pendleton marine who lost custody of son gets second chance," Jan. 3, 2013

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