Soldier Wins Custody Battle Over 18-Month Old With Pro Bono Attorney Help
An Army servicemember’s 18-month old child had been residing with the servicemember’s mother since birth. The child’s father had been chronically behind in child support payments and had seen the child only a few times in her life. Less than a week before the soldier was to be deployed overseas, the child’s father filed for emergency custody. The servicemember had reason to believe that the child’s father was filing for custody in order to avoid and obtain child support and also obtain additional military benefits for housing of military dependents. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project was able to refer the soldier to an experienced and dedicated pro bono attorney who persuaded the court that it was in the best interest of the child for her to remain in her mother’s care until the child became familiar with her father through visitation. With volunteer attorney assistance, the court ultimately granted the servicemember custody of her child and, while the soldier was serving overseas, the child was allowed to remain in the care of her maternal grandmother.