New Jersey child custody: Marine regains custody of son | Lane & Lane, LLC
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New Jersey child custody: Marine regains custody of son

New Jersey military parents may commiserate with the plight of a Marine who had child custody stripped after an Afghanistan deployment. Fortunately, the Marine will soon regain custody. An appeal's court reversed a ruling that granted primary custody of the child to the mother. The couple was active duty military when they married. However, they divorced only a year after they were married, and the father gained primary child custody.

In the initial custody ruling, the father could decide where the child went to school. Since he was based close to Camp Pendleton, the father wanted him near, but the mother wanted the child in another school. When he deployed, the mother took primary custody and requested the court the allow her to enroll the child at a closer school.

Once he returned from Afghanistan in Aug. 2010, custody was supposed to revert to its prior state. However, it dragged on for well over a year and was delayed party due to the requirement for a doctor to make a determination on the interests of their child. The issued report stated the child would be suited to either household and in either school, but stated the ideal situation would be to stay enrolled in the school the mother wanted.

The court ruled there never should have been a required doctor's evaluation and the statement about the school didn't matter. His child custody case spurred an update to a California law that would forbid any courts from ordering a review concerning the child's interests unless a military member returned home after a deployment and exhibited signs calling into question their ability to parent. New Jersey military members who are in a custody battle may be concerned about deploying and their children, so it may be in their best interests to understand their rights so they are ready to fight if a similar situation should occur.

Source:, "Camp Pendleton Marine Who Lost Custody Of Son Gets Second Chance," Jan. 2, 2013

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