Military parents can face specific child custody challenges

Parents in Texas may be aware of a high-profile case involving a United States sailor and his struggle to maintain custody of his daughter. The case is unusual in that the father is currently serving on a submarine deployed in the Pacific Ocean, but was ordered to appear in court or have his wife bring the minor child to court, even though he is incapable of doing so. That order was withdrawn, but the case has still sparked debate about the child custody challenges facing members of the United States military.

The father has full custody of his daughter, who is now 6 years old. The little girl lives with her father and his wife, who is taking care of her while he is on deployment. The child’s mother lost custody of the child four years ago, but the reasons for that decision has not been disclosed. However, she began a new bid for custody, leading to a recent hearing in which the sailor’s wife was ordered to bring the child to court, with the potential of having to hand her over to her birth mother.

A recent order was issued that will serve to delay some aspects of the case until such time as the father is able to be present in court and defend his parental rights. That ruling is based on a federal law that states that court actions are to be suspended while a service member is on active duty and is unable to attend court. The judge in the case stated that she was unaware that the father was on a submarine when she issued the earlier order.

When this father returns from his deployment, he will begin the process of fighting against this most recent child custody challenge. Many Texas readers will continue to follow the case and to see if his service to his country is held against him in family court. The topic of military parents and their parental rights has been a contentious issue for some time, and cases like this one will serve to shape the way that family courts address the matter.

Making the most of child custody mediation

Many Texas parents are concerned about the manner in which parenting rights and responsibilities will be assigned in the course of a divorce. No other divorce topic has the ability to create the same level of tension and contention as child custody. Those who practice family law can attest that these cases can quickly turn spouses into bitter combatants and are among the most difficult and stressful types of legal cases that come before Texas courts. In some cases, parents will try mediation in the early stages of a custody case, and many will find that process to be helpful in reaching an agreement outside of court.

In order to get the most out of child custody mediation, it is important to go into the process with a clear understanding of what outcome a parent would like to obtain. This means making a list of one’s top concerns, as well as an outline of a proposed child custody schedule. By taking the time to prepare in this manner, parents are in a good position to negotiate a favorable outcome. In addition, having this information available can help the mediator to guide the discussions toward the parties’ top concerns.

Another form of preparation to consider involves working with a therapist or counselor prior to entering into mediation. Spouses who are still reacting to their emotional response to the divorce can find it difficult to move through the mediation process. Having a trusted outlet to voice these emotions can help a spouse focus on the matters at hand during mediation. One of the least productive things that divorcing spouses can do is allow their emotions to overrule their decision-making abilities. A counselor can serve as a sounding-board for concerns, and one can also give guidance on how to remain calm and as neutral as possible during mediation sessions.

When preparing for mediation, Texas spouses should think about their own unique set of needs. Those who are able to approach the mediation process with a clear idea of their goals will have an advantage over spouses who have not yet considered their options. In addition, obtaining emotional support during this challenging time can also improve the chances of reaching a favorable child custody outcome through the process of divorce mediation.