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Visitation rights and child custody for deployed military members

There are many members of the military and spouses who are residents of Texas. If the couple has a child and is no longer together, there are numerous issues and emotions that can arise when it comes to child custody and visitation while there is a deployment. How this is dealt with under the law is important to the parents and the child. When it comes a custodial parent who is deployed, it is possible for the court to designate another person to have temporary custody of the child. There can be a court order for this.

The child's best interests are paramount and the preferred order of the court is as follows: the noncustodial parent, a person who the custodial parent selects or a person who has been designated by the court. In the event that a noncustodial parent has primary custody, the deployed parent who normally would have custody were he or she not deployed can pick a person to have visitation rights during the deployment. Once the deployment ends and the custodial parent returns, the temporary orders will end and the rights will return to what they were prior to the changes in the terms due to deployment.

If a noncustodial parent is deployed, a person of his or her choosing can have the deployed parent's visitation rights. This has to be in the child's best interests. It can be a person the noncustodial parent chooses and who has been approved by the court.

It is also possible for a noncustodial parent to request that visitation that was missed while deployed be made up. It must be done within 90 days after the end of the deployment. When there is a concern about how enforcing a child custody order is dealt with or changed due to deployment of a parent in the military, it is important for both parents to understand the law and have help from a legal professional experienced in child custody rights.

Source: Texas Office of the Attorney General, "Military Parents: Paternity, Child Support, Custody & Parenting Time," accessed on Oct. 19, 2015

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