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Bill proposed to delay child custody cases for service members

Many brave men and women serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. As part of their service, they make tremendous sacrifices, including being away from their family and children for extended periods of time. Though most of us support the military, every now and then a story surfaces where a military service member has lost custody of their child or children while they were away serving our country.

Our Michigan residents and service members will find it helpful to learn that State legislators have proposed a bill which, in essence, states that unless a child is in immediate danger of harm, and where two parents are involved, the court should not be able to take away a service member's custodial rights without a child custody hearing that includes both parents. A similar service member child custody bill was introduced last legislative term but did not pass. It was reintroduced again this year.

According to news reports, the idea to address this issue came about after the state senators who have proposed the bill heard about a sailor who was held in contempt of court after he failed to appear at a custody hearing. The sailor was on a submarine in the Pacific Ocean when the hearing was held. Under this bill, service members who are abroad ships or submarines, or serving overseas in a military capacity, will be able to request a delay in any court proceeding dealing with child custody issues.

Family law proceedings, including those dealing with child custody, can sometimes get complicated and confusing. Whether one is in the process of divorcing or is part of an unmarried couple with or children, it may be helpful when a dispute arises to speak with a family law attorney about the specific circumstances surrounding one's situations and legal options.

Source: Lansing State Journal, "Barrett joins Jones on military custody protections," Justin Hinkley, Jan. 28, 2015

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