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Child Custody for Military Parents

How Military Service Affects Custody Arrangements

If you’re in the midst of a divorce, you might be wondering how your military status will affect child custody arrangements. Though you may be deployed or relocated in the future, you are still entitled to the same custody rights as the child’s civilian parent.

The Department of Defense’s USA4 Military Families Initiative is in place to ensure that a military parent’s past or potential deployment does not affect a judge’s custody decision. That means you can still receive joint custody of your child even if you are in the military. Ultimately, Iowa courts strive to protect parental rights while ensuring custody orders reflect the child’s best interests.

Expanded Protections for Military Parents in Iowa

Iowa is one state that has adopted the Uniform Deployed Custody & Visitation Act, which protects a military parent’s right to custody. With this law enacted, a military parent cannot lose custody or contact with their child while they are deployed.

In Iowa, military parents have particularly strong custody and visitation protections in place. If a military service member has joint custody of their child and is deployed, they can designate a relative to have custody of their child while they are away. Even if the service member is not the custodial parent, they can give their visitation rights to a designated relative for the length of their deployment.

During a service member’s deployment, a court can issue a temporary custody order to account for the parent’s time away from the child. If the service member does not designate someone to take on their custody or visitation rights, the other child’s parent may temporarily be given sole custody. This temporary order will terminate upon the service member’s return, and custody will be reassessed.

Custody Hearings During Deployment

In some cases, a civilian parent will file for divorce or request a custody hearing while the other parent is deployed in hopes of getting a custody advantage over the service member. The Service members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) prevents this by freezing civil proceedings during a parent’s active military deployment. The military parent will be notified of the case and be assigned a military attorney. The “freeze” will last at least 90 days if not more.

Seek Legal Counsel for Your Custody Case

As a military service member, you have the same parental rights as any civilian parent. Your service to the country should not impact your right to custody of your child. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, we proudly represent military parents in complex custody cases.

Call us at (515) 200-7571 to request a free consultation with our team.

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