The New Jersey legislature has made strides towards protecting parents serving in the military. The Senate and General Assembly of the state of New Jersey enacted a law that prohibits a permanent change of child custody during a period of active military service. Further, the act provides that absence due to active military duty, by itself, is insufficient justification to modify child custody or visitation orders. The measure balances the interests of New Jersey children in having a secure and stable environment against the need for persons in the military to defend their country by participating in training and in some cases lengthy or multiple deployments.
Naturally, this provision helps service members tremendously, as there is no longer a concern that service to our country may result in a loss or modification of custody. While child custody may change temporary in order to work in the best interests of the child, the service member can rest assured that the custody change will not be permanent in nature. Since child custody arrangements are never “permanent” in the state of New Jersey, some may argue that this legislation is unnecessary. However, clear-cut standards which provide service members with a sense of assurance that they will not have to fight a contentious custody battle upon return from deployment may serve to be invaluable. If you are experiencing custody issues, it is advisable to speak to an experienced family law attorney for more information. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.