I Am In The Military And Received Orders For Deployment And I Have Primary Custody Of My Children. What Happens To Them While I Am Gone? Can I Lose Custody?

The Washington legislature has recently addressed these issues to protect military parents.

First, the court does not automatically modify a parenting plan simply because military duty impacts a parent’s time with his or her children. The parent requesting a modification of the parenting plan would still have to show a substantial change in circumstances, and the military duty by itself is not sufficient to do so.

If a parent receives military temporary duty, deployment, activation, or mobilization orders that involve moving a substantial distance away from the military parent’s residence or if it will have a material effect on the military parent’s ability to exercise residential time or visitation rights, the military parent may request that the court delegate his or her residential time or visitation rights to a child’s family member, including a stepparent, or another person with a close and substantial relationship to the child for the duration of the military parent’s absence. The court will do so if delegating residential time or visitation rights is in the child’s best interest.

You may be required to attempt dispute resolution prior to bringing a motion with the court, depending on the terms of your current parenting plan.

Nicole M. Bolan, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.

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