Did you know there are about 2 millions members of the active duty and reserve Armed Services? There are many times more veterans. The number of family members is even larger. And like everyone else, some of these relationships don’t work out. So – how does Texas treat these folks? Many service members fear that because of the nature of their profession and duty to their country, they will not be able to exercise their rights to custody, visitation and access to their children. However, being in the military won’t automatically disqualify a person from getting custody, visitation, or access to their children.
The answer is that, it depends. A Texas court will consider the “best interests of the child” when deciding who should be the parent that designates the child’s residence (i.e. which parent the child will live with), which is why it depends. The parent with the right to designate the child’s residence is what I will refer to as the “primary parent”. Every case is so different with a different set of facts and parents. The court will examine the specific circumstances in your case to determine if it would be in your child’s best interest to live with you or your ex.
The court will look at a number of factors when considering a Service member for the “primary parent” position but one of the most important factors considered in cases like this is the availability or presence of the Service member. Here are the factors:
It’s important to keep mind that even if you are not designated as the primary parent, you have a good chance of still getting as much time with your child as possible.
When a Service member is deployed in the midst of litigation, the Service member will have to find another way of participating since they cannot do so in-person. The Court has a ton of discretion when it comes to allowing a witness to give testimony telephonically and/or video. However, what will be important to the Court will be whether or not the witness’ identity can be discerned. Essentially, the Court has to feel comfortable that the person on the other end of the phone or video is the person that they claim to be. Some judges will be stricter when it comes to allowing this. Other judges will ask the witness the type of questions that the witness and the witness only, should know in order to verify his or her identity, then allow the witness to proceed.
If the Judge is still not comfortable enough, a vast majority of Service members have access to a Judge Advocate. The Judge Advocates are active duty officers that are members of the judge advocate general corps. They are required to be licensed attorneys and in good standing in at least one of the states of the Union.
If you are a service member, contact your unit’s judge advocate so that the advocate can use their legal assistance office to help with the process. The legal assistance office will help the Service member gain access to the phone and/or video for the telephonic testimony and will also help verify the identity of the Service member for the Judge. If you are a Service member or are in litigation with a Service member, you should take this entire journey very seriously. You should be sure to hire an attorney that has experience with cases such as yours to best protect your rights.
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Brian and his staff were great. Brian’s direction and expertise provided me with the legal information relevant for my needs over several years now. He listens and is steadfast which gave me comfort in the courses of action. I highly recommend him.Brian and his staff were great. Brian’s direction and expertise provided me with the legal information...
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