Recently, the United States Air Force announced new rules designed to help parents who have custody agreements for their children. The change is designed to help families stay together as much as possible.
Under the new rules, members of the United States Air Force who are named as a parent and have a court-ordered custody agreement may apply to defer an assignment or request that they be stationed close to their children. The rule applies even if the parents were not married and to those who have adopted children. Research shows parents who remain close to their children, even if they are placed with another parent, develop better relationships.
Reasonable traveling distance
The new rule provides for airmen to be assigned within a geographical area that allows them to co-parent children who are named in the court-ordered agreement. All members must still fulfill their obligations and manning requirements may not permit the arrangement immediately. Whenever possible, however, the parent will be stationed as close as possible to the children. They may also elect to defer an assignment based on the location of the children. The order states that all airmen should expect to be separated from their families during their career and when a child custody assignment is not in the best interest of the Air Force, the assignment may not be approved.
There is no question that every divorce is difficult, but when military members divorce, it can be extremely challenging. In most cases, a civilian parent is responsible for the daily care of the children while the active service member is deployed or stationed elsewhere. Under family law in most states, this leads the courts to give placement of the children to the civilian parent and visitation to the member of the military. If the Air Force then deploys the military parent to a station far away, or even in a foreign country, this could make it difficult for them to maintain a relationship with their children. This new rule for Air Force members should help to alleviate some of the stress of a divorce as the parent who is serving may still be able to remain close to the children while remaining in service to the country.
If you are in the Air Force and are in the process of a divorce, it is important that you speak to an attorney who will help protect your rights as a parent.