“Jane,” a soldier now serving in Afghanistan, is divorced and legally has joint custody of her son although the ex-husband has never bothered in three years to ever see the boy. However, the Pentagon in May issued a directive requiring those who are being deployed overseas “to attempt to gain consent” from the former spouse if the child is being left with a third party such as parents. However, lawyers believe there is no legal ground to prevent an “ex” from gaining custody of the children once the parent has been deployed overseas. They argue only a court sanctioned agreement has any legal basis. Thousands of possible cases could arise once a soldier who has custody of a child is sent overseas.
As “Jane” comments, “It scares the life out of me.” Well, Jane, it scares the life out of me and millions of Americans that 1.5 million young men and women have been given responsibility to protect 300,000,000. We place these fine young men and women in harm’s way in more than one instance. We need new legislation to protect those with children who are sent overseas.