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How military deployment affects child custody

People in New York have many different jobs and some of those jobs require the person to travel. This can be hard on both children and parents, but travel for most jobs is usually relatively short-term. However, those in the military have a very unique job and when they have to travel, they are usually gone for many months and even years at a time. Therefore, military deployment creates a very difficult situation when parents have joint child custody and the parent in the military has parenting time.

While a military parent is deployed, they cannot always be in communication with the other parent and clearly cannot have the children in their care. So, there are special rules when it comes to modifying a child custody order during deployment.

The order can be modified, but a person has to be appointed to represent the child during the proceedings. Also, all orders must allow for electronic communication between the deployed parent and the child. This communication could be through email, webcams or video chat, phone and other acceptable means.

Then, once the parent returns for deployment, the modified order will be reviewed without the deployed parent having to demonstrate there has been any other change in the circumstances except for the fact that they returned from deployment. Any modification of an order at this time will be based on what is in the best interests of the child. However, these provisions are only for long-term deployments and not permanent changes of station.

People from New York who are in the military make many sacrifices for their job and one of them is the fact that they need to leave their children behind for long periods of time. In order to accommodate deployments, the law allows the parents to modify any child custody order both during deployment and after the parent returns. The modifications of the order are based on what is in the best interests of the children. These can be complicated determinations and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.

Source:, "Domestic Relations" accessed on Jan. 8, 2018

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