Military divorce rates down, fathers’ rights still an issue

Recently released data suggests that the rate of divorce filings among military couples has decreased in 2013. According to newly reported Defense Department data, divorce rates have fallen one tenth of a percent. However, divorce among families of enlisted service members still outpaces that of officers. The overall decrease in divorce filings is great news for Massachusetts military families. However, for parents who decide to end their marriage, fathers’ rights concerns are particularly troublesome for men in the military.

While our nation extends a great deal of support and admiration for the men and women who serve within the armed forces, there are areas in which military service can actually serve as a detriment. Child custody is one example in which the decision to serve can lead to legal difficulties. Many men who have chosen to pursue a military career encounter difficulties when trying to assert their parental rights in a family court.

One issue that military fathers frequently face involves the risk of deployment. In many cases, mothers and their attorneys are able to convince a court that the risk of deployment is a significant factor in awarding full or joint child custody to a man who serves within the military. As a result, fathers in this position can find that their ultimate child custody arrangement is not on par with that which a non-military parent could reasonably expect.

For those who are passionate about remaining actively involved in the lives of their children after a Massachusetts divorce, this fathers’ rights issue is a significant concern. Fathers who want to assert their parental rights must take an aggressive legal stance. The outcome of a child custody case will have a lifelong impact on both the children involved and their parents, and should never be taken lightly.

Source: Military Times, Military divorce rate ticks downward, Andrew Tilghman, Dec. 19, 2013

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