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Child Custody

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Summary

Many service members (SM) have custody of, or visitation rights with, children whose other parent is not the SM's current spouse. Absences due to military service can undermine and disrupt existing arrangements, creating stress on parents and children.

Key Message

Department believes the welfare of the child is paramount, it also believes that absence due to military service should never be the sole basis for a loss of custody or diminished visitation rights (even though the effects of such absences could be an appropriate consideration).

Statistic

Currently 42 states have provisions to ensure military service is not considered as the not the sole reason for custody decisions.