Texas readers may have heard of a widely publicized child custody battle involving a mother who serves in the National Guard. The child custody case has made headlines across the nation due to the fact that the mother lost full custody of her children based upon her military service. She has appealed that decision, and the eventual outcome will be of great interest to military parents in all states.
In many cases, parents who end their relationship are able to come to an agreement between themselves concerning the care and custody of their shared children. When they cannot agree, the courts step in and make a determination. Family courts in every state are tasked with making child custody decisions that serve the best interests of the child or children involved.
For many decades, the prevailing opinion was that children should remain in the care of their mothers. This assumption has been challenged in recent years by mounting evidence that shows that children are best served by having significant contact with both parents. This approach, often referred to as maximized parenting time, has led courts to begin making child custody determinations that vary from the established norm of one parent retaining full legal custody, with the other parent receiving visitation rights on an every other-weekend basis.
In the case of the military mother who has lost custody of her children, she will now have to abide by the every-other-weekend schedule set forth by the court, at least until her appeal is heard. Many within the field of psychology and law feel that this type of parenting arrangement is not optimal for the children at the center of this child custody case. In the end, the appellate decision may go a long way toward modifying the state’s approach toward parenting time. As these cases reach the Supreme Court, the results will also clarify the repercussions that a parent’s military career can have on their relationship with their children, in Texas and elsewhere.
Source: Omaha.com, “Child custody laws need changes,” James Bocott, Jan. 4, 2013