Deployed parents, temporary child custody and visitation rights

When there is a disagreement over child custody and visitation rights in South Carolina, the parents or anyone else who is interested in the child’s care and well-being should understand how a custody order is handled under the law. One aspect of child custody that is of concern to many people living in the state is what happens if a parent is a member of the Armed Forces and is deployed. With this, it is important to understand the content of a temporary custody order.

A temporary order for custody based on a parent’s deployment must state that it is temporary. It must also specify the destination, duration and what conditions are applicable for the parent’s deployment.

When the circumstances require it, the temporary order for child custody is required to state how authority – the caretaking, decision-making and limited contact – are allocated between the parent who is deployed, the non-deploying parent and any non-parent. When any authority is split between people or there is one person who is granted caretaking authority with another having limited contact, there must be a process to deal with any disputes that may arise.

The deploying parent must be allowed to have contact with the child via electronic means unless this is detrimental to the child. This also applies when the parent is on leave. Once the parent returns, they should have reasonable contact with the child until the temporary order has been terminated. The deploying parent could get more time with the child until then. The order must state that it will terminate after the parent returns from deployment.

Family life with a parent in the military can be difficult enough. When there is a divorce and issues related to child custody and visitation, it becomes even more complex. To facilitate a relationship between the deploying parent and ensure the child’s best interests are served, a temporary order based on the deployment is important. Having legal advice for these and other matters related to child custody and visitation rights is crucial to these circumstances.