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Military parents’ custody bill approved by Michigan Legislature

The Michigan House and Senate have approved a bill that would prevent courts from having the ability to modify the orders for parenting time if one of the parents is in the military and has filed a motion to stay under what is known as the federal Service Members Civil Relief Act. This would mean that military parents who are on active duty would not be punished if they failed to appear in court during a custody battle.

A bill was initially proposed back in July of 2014 after a judge from Lenawee County ordered a sailor to come to court for a custody hearing despite the fact that he was aboard a United States submarine at the time. The judge later stated that she was unaware that the father was stationed out in the Pacific Ocean when she initially ordered him to either appear or have his 6-year-old daughter brought into court by someone else. The hearing was in response to a filing by the sailor’s ex-wife. She had initially lost custody back in 2010 after there were allegations of abuse. She then filed for a hearing in an attempt to regain custody.

Senator Rick Jones, a Republican who sponsored the bill, stated that those who served in the military deserved an opportunity to fulfill their service without the fear of losing custody of their child. The bill will now move forward to the governor of Michigan for his consideration.

Individuals who are involved in a Michigan child custody case may find it beneficial to learn more about their legal rights and how they may pertain to their situation.

Source: minbcnews, “Michigan bills aim to protect military parents’ custody,” NBC25 Newsroom, May. 28, 2015