In matters of child custody, family courts in Connecticut and elsewhere are expected to make rulings that serve the best interests of the child or children at the center of each case. This is a responsibility that the American people entrust to the courts, and one that can have serious repercussions on both the individuals involved and the constitutional rights of all parents. One ongoing child custody battle has made news across the country, as it involves a challenge to the parental rights of Unites States service members.
The case revolves around a 33-year-old mother of two who is divorced from her husband and the father of her children. She is an active member of the National Guard, and has been deployed three times. The duration of those deployments were two periods of two weeks and one period of 42 days. While she was gone, the children were cared for by their maternal grandparents and their father.
A family court judge ruled that the mother's military service made it difficult to provide a stable home for her children. He awarded custody of the kids to their father, with the mother receiving visitation rights on an every-other-weekend basis, as well as two afternoon visits each week. The mother has appealed the decision and is awaiting notice on whether the appellate court will hear the case.
This particular case will be heard in another state, but as more of these types of cases reach the Supreme Court, the manner in which lower courts approach the parental rights of all military parents will be structured. For those who face current challenges to their rights to parent their children, this case demonstrates the importance of presenting a clear and legally sound argument during the initial hearings to prevent the loss of custodial rights.
Source: starherald.com, "Military mom fights for custody under new law," Sarah Schulz, Dec. 26, 2012