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Will I lose custody of my children because I’m in the military?

After your divorce, you might want to make the most of your time with your children. But you may worry about how being in the military can affect your custody agreement. You and your ex split time with your child—but what will you do if you have to move?

Serving in the military means there is always a chance that orders will send you to another state or even another country. Since the military can transfer or deploy you at any time, can a judge take away your custody?

Texas law protects you

In order to permanently change a custody agreement, Texas law requires there to be a substantial change in circumstances for your or your former spouse. The law also states that a military move does not qualify as a substantial change. This means that you cannot lose custody of your children because of a transfer or deployment.

What happens when you deploy?

Even though there won’t be a permanent custody change, someone has to watch your kids if the military calls you to duty. A judge can set a temporary custody order that might allow the other parent to keep the children while you are gone. Once you return home, the temporary order ceases and your original custody agreement goes back into effect.

During your absence, you can transfer your visitation rights to another person. This is commonly a grandparent, stepparent or other relative. The judge still has to approve the person you choose.

Serving your country shouldn’t get in the way of seeing your children. The idea of missing out on their lives because of your service might make you worry about your family’s future. Your attorney can help you make sure that you don’t lose time with your family before or after your deployment.

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