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With Pro Bono Attorney Help, Children Allowed To Accompany Sailor On Relocation

July 24, 2015

A Navy servicemember who is a single mother and primary caregiver for three children received a transfer order that required her to move away from her children’s servicemember father.  The father, who also received an order to relocate, requested permission to move with the children to his transfer location which was approximately 1,500 miles away from where the mother was being transferred. In order to maintain stability for her children, the mother needed to request primary custody of them and permission to relocate with them to her new transfer location. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project connected the mother with a pro bono attorney to assist her in obtaining this challenging legal remedy.  After many hours of preparation, the attorney represented the mother at a hearing in which the court ruled in the mother’s favor, granting her petition for relocation, awarding her primary physical custody of the children during the nine-month school year, and granting the father custody during summer vacations. The father’s counsel soon filed an appeal, to which the pro bono attorney prepared an appellate brief in response and presented the mother’s position at oral argument which again resulted in a favorable finding for her. In addition, while the appeal was pending, the pro bono attorney petitioned the court to modify the mother’s child support order to reflect the new custody arrangement, which resulted in her receiving nearly a $1000/month increase in child support payments.  The attorney and his associates, who traditionally incur a high billing rate, generously contributed a significant amount of pro bono time to secure a much-needed result for this servicemember.

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