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High-profile child custody dispute with service member settled

In Spokane, when a couple shares a child and is no longer together, there are many difficult issues that must be sorted out. In some situations, the parental rights are called into question due to issues of safety and competence. In others, technicalities muddy the waters between parents and it is either a matter of the court deciding what will happen in the child custody dispute or the parents can try to find common ground for the child's own good.

A high-profile case involving a member of the Navy who was unable to attend a custody hearing with his ex-wife after was settled at the behest of the judge. The 6-year-old child had been in the custody of the service member's current wife while he was deployed. The deployment prevented him from attending a custody hearing earlier this year. The biological mother of the child wanted to receive full child custody. The father had been granted custody in their divorce in 2010 after child protective services had intervened and removed the child from the mother's care. The father is stationed in Washington State and there was a motion to move the case to a local court. As part of the agreement, the mother will have the child for most of summer vacation and the couple will alternate having the child on holidays.

Regardless of the nature of a divorce, one of the most important aspects is how the children will be cared for. This includes the amount of money that will be paid to the custodial parent for support, where the child will live, relocation issues and visitation plans. The best case scenario is if the parents can come to an amicable agreement and be civil to one another for the good of the child. That isn't always possible and it's sometimes necessary to go to court.

This case drew national attention because it highlighted the struggles members of the military go through in addition to serving the country. Since it was so prominent, it was important that the parents come to an agreement that was reasonable to both parties and the child. When there is a case that grows difficult for any reason, an important factor is having experienced legal advice.

Source: Daily Telegraph, "Parenting deal avoids trial in Navy dad's custody case," Dennis Pelham, Oct. 25, 2014

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