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New child custody law good news for Ohio military members

Active-duty military members face a host of difficulties during deployment times. Not only do they often put their lives on the line, but they spend much of their time concerned about family back home. A new child custody law passed in Ohio may help to take some of the pressure off the state's military men and women.

A leader of the military Family Readiness Group played an important role in the passing of House Bill 121. The bill seeks to guarantee that a custody order on record for a child of an active-duty military member cannot be changed in any way expressly because of the parent's military service. According to Ohio legislators, the Family Readiness Group leader, and military spouse, brought the need for the new legislation into light. She continued to advocate for the law, and it was quickly passed through both legislative chambers.

The purpose of the bill is to prohibit any court from using military service, including deployments, as justification to modify an existing child custody order. Now, the active-duty service member will be able to obtain a temporary order for parenting time changes. The temporary custody order will be terminated within 10 days following the conclusion of the military member's deployment or temporary tour of duty. The law also mandates that any service member may request the court grant an order that allows a family member or someone with a close bond to the child to be allowed to temporarily take over visitation rights.

Advocates of the bill pushed for an expedient decision on the part of state Legislature. As such, the new child custody law was placed on the legislative table in an emergency measure because of a pending troop deployment. A number of National Guard members in Ohio may face child custody concerns as the state expects to mobilize 2,500 of its military men and women in the very near future.

Source:, "Military child custody bill enacted," 21 June 2011

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