Volunteer Attorney Helps Injured Soldier Retain Child Custody
A soldier was injured in Afghanistan by a hand-thrown IED. However, when he returned to the United States, his recovery and treatments were not his only challenge. When his young child was living with the child’s mother, child protective services removed the child from the mother’s home due to sexual abuse charges against the mother. The soldier sought and was granted custody of his child, which had been contested by the maternal grandmother. The maternal grandmother, who was represented by counsel, then appealed the custody order. The concerned soldier visited a military legal assistance attorney, who referred the case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The Project located a volunteer attorney to represent the wounded soldier at the appellate court. The court ultimately rejected the grandmother’s appeal, sustaining the trial court’s decision that it is in the best interests of the child for the soldier to have full custody.