Custody issues for military parents addressed in Ohio bill

For children, going through a divorce can be equally if not more overwhelming as it is for their parents. Determining how the parents will share custody can be one of the most challenging issues to overcome in a divorce. But even when a shared parenting plan is established, it can be changed.

Depending on the parents' situations, custody agreements can be evaluated and modified. Sometimes this occurs if one parent moves or develops a problem that creates an unsafe environment for the kids. But what happens if the parent is not around as often? Is it in the best interests of the child to maintain a custody plan if one parent is not around? What if that parent is serving in the military?

Recently, Ohio legislation has been proposed that addresses these questions. Currently, it appears that if a parent is absent for a certain amount of time, even if for military service, the custody order could be modified to give the absent parent less time with the child.

This new bill proposes that custody orders can only be changed when the military parent has returned from service. So instead of a parent coming home to find that he or she has less time with the child, the original custody plan would be reinstated upon their return.

Supporters of this bill are certain that this legislation would help protect the rights of a parent who is also in the military without putting the child's best interests at risk. Parents that serve in the military are faced with unique challenges when determining custody plans.

The best interests of the child are at the heart of a custody agreement. Children should be able to see their parents on a consistent basis. Parents who serve in the military should not have their rights decreased simply because they are absent when on active duty. This bill should address the specific needs of these parents.

Source: Examiner: Cincinnati online, "Military child custody legislation introduced,"Harry Prestanski, 24 February 2011

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