Being a mother is hard. Even harder when you can’t be around your kids all the time cause you’re somewhere in Kuwait fighting a war. Molly Moriarty is a mum of 2 boys aged 9 and 11, she left for Kuwait in December 2005 for the Navy. Not knowing that during her absence another war was going to break out: her ex-husband filed for full custody.
Moriarty is only one of over a hundred thousand single parents in the active and reserve military.
Before a deployment, service personnel are required to work out temporary parenting arrangements with an ex-spouse or family member through a written family care plan. But all too often, the stateside caregiver goes to court requesting a modification of a custody arrangement, and the military parent isn’t around to fight the order. That leaves military moms and dads feeling as if their deployment — their absence — counts against them in court. “You should not have to be in downtown Baghdad worrying about your children,” said Moriarty.
In the best interest of the child
Judge Susan Carbon:
“These are really hard calls to make. It’s extremely disruptive on all ends. Here’s a parent serving their country, and they come back and expect to resume where they left off. … Just because you have an agreement that says you get to get a child back it may not be the best thing for the child.”
Although there is a federal law, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act, that allows service members to delay legal proceedings during military activation, in custody battles many judges are simply ignoring it.
GI Jane: Kids or Country [ABC News]