Military Child Custody and Visitation

Establishing child custody and visitation for military members and military family members is an especially difficult challenge. In a divorce or legal separation proceeding, unless agreements can be reached between the parties, the Court must decide where the child or children will live and must fashion a parenting plan for the non-custodial parent. Attorney Ray Chamberland has helped hundreds of military families though this process and has the knowledge and skill to help fashion a workable plan.

Military Members as Primary Responsible Parents

Many military members assume they can not be named the primary responsible parent for their kids. That is not necessarily true. Although deployments, TDYs out of State training, and PCSs make it more difficult for a military member to become the primary custodian of the children, under Colorado law the Court must formulate a plan that is in the child or children’s best interest. In reaching this decision in divorce, legal separation or parental responsibility (custody) cases, the Court must give paramount consideration to the physical, mental, and emotional conditions and needs of the child(ren). The Court must consider all relevant factors listed in Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-124 including:

  1. The wishes of the child's parents as to parenting time;
  2. The wishes of the child if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule;
  3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parents, his or her siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
  4. The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability alone shall not be a basis to deny or restrict parenting time;
  6. The ability of the parties to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other party;
  7. Whether the past pattern of involvement of the parties with the child reflects a system of values, time commitment, and mutual support;
  8. The physical proximity of the parties to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of parenting time;
  9. Whether one of the parties has been a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect under section 18-6-401, C.R.S., or under the law of any state, which factor shall be supported by credible evidence;
  10. Whether one of the parties has been a perpetrator of domestic violence, which factor shall be supported by a preponderance of the evidence;
  11. The ability of each party to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs.
Non-Military Family Members

Attorney Ray Chamberland has successfully used his 25 years of military knowledge and experience to help military members use these factors to convince the Courts that residing with the military member is in the children’s best interest.

Ray has also applied his knowledge of the vital role of the non-military family member to helping these family members use these same factors to prove to the Court that they are the more appropriate parent to have primary custody of the children. Any good family law attorney can understand and apply these factors in a civilian matter, but if you’re looking for an experienced former military member to help you factor in the unique aspects of military life, then you should seriously consider retaining a retired JAG like attorney Ray Chamberland.

Negotiating Non-Standard Parenting Plans

If you’re not the primary custodial parent, then maximizing your visitation with your children should be your primary goal. Ray can help. His understanding of your unique situations allows him to fashion parenting plans that take into account the demands of military life. Military members can’t always employ a standard parenting plan. The demands of deployments, training, TDY’s and PCS’s require a personalized parenting plan be developed for each individual situation. Flexibility is often the key. This is particularly true if both parents are in the military. Ray has helped many two-military member families develop the perfect parenting plan for their situation. Regardless of whether this is a one or two military member situation, plans that are in the children’s best interest can often be negotiated without the need for courtroom litigation. The agreements can be developed and just filed with the Court. If agreement can’t be reached, Ray’s unique skills will be brought to bear as he works diligently to convince the Court to fashion a plan that meets the needs of the military family.

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