Being a parent while also serving in the military is not easy, especially when one is divorced. Things can get especially tricky when it comes to the child custody orders. It is not always easy to balance time with a child when stationed in another part of Maryland or even another state. Now that the U.S. Air Force is taking custody arrangements into account when assigning servicemembers to bases, things could get easier for some parents.
In the past, the U.S. Air Force did not take into account whether a servicemember had a court-ordered custody arrangement when making assignments. As of Aug. 17, parents with custody orders can request to be stationed close to their children. They can also ask for their future assignments to be deferred if moving would put them farther away from their children.
The Air Force has already approved at least one request, assigning a master sergeant to a base in the same area as his son and ex-wife. Before the request, he had been set to move overseas. Those orders were cancelled in early Aug. 2020, soon after the Air Force announced that it would begin considering custody arrangements as part of the assignment process.
Most parents in Maryland prioritize child custody during divorce. The most important part of this process is making sure that a child custody arrangement fully respects a child’s best interests. When those best interests involve being close to both mom and dad, military parents should be sure to explore their options for staying close by.