Military service members, no matter which branch they belong to, sometimes get the short end of the stick when it comes to certain family law issues. Existing child custody arrangements, for example, are not always taken into account when parents are given new duty assignments. This, of course, can cause significant issues that may ultimately harm their parent-child relationship.
Thankfully, at least one branch of the military, the U.S. Air Force, is changing its tune on child custody which could benefit many families in the state of Washington.
Service members can now make requests
According to a recently published article, the Air Force will now take into account a family’s child custody situation before changing the service member’s work assignments. This means that airmen will have the ability to to be closer to their children or ask for deferments so they do not have to move away from their families.
The two main eligibility requirements a service member has to meet to apply for a specific duty assignment are:
- The service member has to be either the adoptive or biological parent of the child
- There has to be an existing child custody order already in place
Changes were long in the making
A spokesperson for the Air Force said this new policy was something that has been considered and worked on for a while. The Air Force recognizes that its service members sacrifice family time while serving their country and believe they deserve more flexibility. However, despite these changes, airmen are still expected to meet service needs, which means not all custody-related duty requests will receive approval, unfortunately.
While a service member’s job is not supposed to be counted against them when figuring out a custody arrangement, the sad reality of the situation is it does. Numerous airmen in Washington and elsewhere often end up with custody orders that seem unfair because of the possibility of them moving away from their children.
Knowing that more flexibility might be available in their duty assignments could help these service members, with the assistance of legal counsel, fight for terms they believe will best benefit their families.