Appointing a Temporary Guardian for Your Child
If you are being deployed and want your children to live with another family
member, you have several different options. That family member can petition for
guardianship or custody of the child in family court, you can sign a letter giving
that family member temporary decision-making rights for the education
and health care of your child, or you can appoint that family member as
a short-term or long-term care provider in your Family Care Plan.
A single parent with
sole custody who enlists in the military is required by the Department of Defense to
provide his or her Commanding Officer with a Family Care Plan. This plan appoints long-term and short-term care providers for your child
and details how your child should be cared for in your absence. If there
is a court order that gives custody to someone other than you, then the
Family Care Plan would be subject to the court order.
You are required to have a Family Care Plan if you are:
- A single parent with sole custody of your child
- Part of a dual-military couple with dependent children
- Married to someone who is not the child’s other parent
- Primarily responsible for dependent family members
Could I Lose Custody of My Child If I Am Deployed?
If you are called to active duty or deployed, it is possible that you could
lose custody of your child. The courts in New York only consider what
is in the best interest of your child. During the recent wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, many enlisted men and women served multiple tours of
duty. The absence of the parent in this situation could lead to severe
disruptions in the child's life. If the non-military parent makes
a request for
child custody, the judge can consider extended absences as a factor in granting custody
to the parent who had been caring for the child.
Proper notice must be given to the military parent, however, and the non-military
parent has a high burden of proof to meet in order to have custody taken
away from you. It is also important to realize that, if custody has been
granted to the non-military parent, the end of deployment is considered a
substantial change of circumstances. This would give you the opportunity to make an application to obtain
custody of your child if it was taken away from you.
If you are a military parent, it would be wise to consult with a New York
child custody lawyer to help create a situation where it would be difficult
to have custody taken away from you.
Contact Eiges & Orgel, PLLC.