PLEASE NOTE: We are still open and operational! To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options. click here for Covid 19 updates
Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

New custody law for military endorsed by TX members of congress

Sometimes, if a military parent is deployed, or even has a chance of being deployed, it can be enough to sway a judge's opinion of what is in the best interest of a child when determining custody arrangements and parenting plans.

However, three Texas members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee support federal legislation that would protect the child custody rights of military members. Last month, the entire committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking for his support of the bill. The Servicemember Family Protection Act would amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act creating a federal family law protecting the child custody arrangements and parenting plans of deployed military parents going through a divorce. It would also ensure that those plans are immediately put back in place once the parent returns home.

Since it is not uncommon for family law judges to take one's military service into consideration when making child custody decisions, this bill would prohibit family court judges from taking into account the past absence of a parent because of deployment, or possible future deployment, when deciding custody and placement disputes. In addition, if a child custody motion is filed while the military parent is deployed, the new law would not allow any modification to a previous custody judgment until that parent gets home.

Bill H.R. 4201 has already been introduced on Capitol Hill six times and has handily passed the House. Last year, Panetta's predecessor also supported the bill. With the DOD hopefully on board, it has a better chance of passing in the Senate this year. But, pushback from the Department of Defense has always squashed the bill on the Senate side. The Pentagon reportedly does not want to create a federal rule for an issue that is usually handled by individual state laws and better left up to the discretion of a judge.

Source:, "Turner and Andrews Joined by Full House Armed Services Committee in Calling for Action on Military Child Custody," April 2, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Board Certified
  • IAFL
  • Super Lawyers 2019
  • Best Lawyers
  • Avvo Rating
  • Avvo Rating
  • Avvo Client Choice 2014
  • Avvo Client Choice 2014
  • Best Law Firms Badge
  • Laura Dale
  • Texas Bar Today Top Ten Badge

Contact Our Experienced Team Today

Se Habla Español | Nous Parlons Français

Due to the experience our lawyers have in many specialized areas, you can rely on us to put together the right team to handle your case, even if it centers on complex issues such as international family law, business valuation or bankruptcy. Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your needs with a knowledgeable lawyer.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.
email us for a response

1800 Saint James Place
Suite 620
Houston, TX 77056

Phone: 713-574-7952
Fax: 713-600-1718
Houston Law Office Map

Review Us