Florida is one of the 36 States that have recently passed child custody bills to protect military parents who might be at risk of having their child visitation grossly diminished or even, eliminated all together while overseas.
In 2003, Fathers and Families publicized a story of a San Diego-based US Navy Seal who was quickly deployed after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. While overseas fighting for his country, the military father had his minor child relocated from California to the Middle East by the mother against his will and without his consent. He opened up to Glenn Sacks and painfully admitted, “Sometimes I wonder what I risked my life [in Afghanistan] for. I went to fight for freedom but what freedom and what rights mean anything if a man doesn’t have the right to be a father to his own child?” To read the full story of this brave military father, click here.
Like this Navy Seal, many military servicemembers are not able to have a voice in the courtroom as they fight thousands of miles away for their country. In the past, the primary residential parent of the parties’ child could relocate to another state or country and change the child’s residency without the consent of the other parent. They could enter a courtroom and file for divorce immediately after the deployment of the soldier; making him not part of the decision process and dictating a visitation schedule upon his return. Father/child bonds were lost due to extreme absence and lack of contact; letters to children never delivered and phone calls from overseas never answered. In an effort to make the family law system more balanced for both parties, supporters and advocates of equal rights have joined their voices together and we now have begun to see the fruits of their labor.
According to Florida’s recent legislation concerning temporary and concurrent custody of a child, effective July 1, 2010, military fathers can rest easier knowing that the bill states:
- Parents assigned to military service on orders may designate a person to exercise time-sharing on that parent’s behalf.
- Parents assigned to military service may petition for expedited hearings.
- Requires non-military parent to cooperate to resolve issues and share information regarding the child.
- Protects military parents that object to custody modifications and allows them to state their objection formally, prior to any final order being awarded.
- States that any order granting concurrent custody does not affect ability of the other parent to obtain physical custody of child at any time.
To read the general bill and/or receive additional information, please visit MyFloridaHouse.gov.
To see the original article posted by Fathers and Families, please click here.
Military separations and divorces must be handled by competent attorneys that are equipped to handle the complex, time-sensitive and unique issues that arise in servicemen’s domestic dissolutions. As such, it is vital that you select a law firm with military-related family law experience to represent your best interest.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm proudly represents Husbands and Fathers that are both active-duty and retired military.
Fathers, Families, Fairness.