My personal facebook gets plastered today with links to a facebook page: SupportVeteranMotherBritney that is about some gal who joined the military and could not “get her son back” from the father who had obviously cared for the child while she was away.
This appears to be a picture of the mother and child:
Ironically, the above statements over the picture suggest she is “fighting” to get him “back” as she clearly does not understand she never “had” complete custody in the first place. Children born of a marriage have two equal parents with equal rights.
I have been involved with family law for awhile now and have quite possibly heard everything there is to hear. Interestingly enough, this story did generate a revelation though.
Generally, men in the military have done very well in my jurisdiction over child custody. I thought of over ten cases in the past two years I have worked on personally where the father was awarded custody after returning from overseas. However, I could not think of a single case; not ONE, in which a military female returned home and acquired primary custody (unless of course the child was with the parents and the father was no where around).
I pondered the issue and thought of the reasons why this would be. The recurring theme in these disputes was that the female was unstable, promiscuous and just generally a crazy person. Over and over these women would come home only to fight a losing battle in court while ironically their male counterparts did much better and were often awarded custody a rate higher than average for men (I’d say men win custody disputes 20% of the time while men returning from overseas were at about 30%). In my experiences, women returning home from deployment did far, far worse than average in court (considering I cannot think of one single case in which the civilian father was not awarded custody over the military mother but I am sure they are out there).
The answer is really quite simply……women who join the military are perceived as flawed and troubled and not qualified for motherhood. The idea that a woman would leave traditional roles to instead engage in warfare is bizarre to many. This becomes an issue as it relates to child rearing as men are expected to defend the family while the mother is expected to nurture the family. While women are often admired for accomplishments within the civilian workforce, women in the military may not be as socially accepted as you may think. In fact, it has been my experience that some of the stereotypes are true regarding woman in the military. Many of these young women who join are deeply troubled teenagers having absolutely no business considering a military career. While obviously there are many young troubled men who join the military (as was I years ago), it is apparent that military life is meant for men…not women…and not kids.
On the other hand, many of the men who are sent off to war return home to find their children living in deplorable conditions. Men in the military seemingly always find a way to marry the biggest piece of trash from his hometown and move her to some lonely military base where he learns discipline and self control while she deteriorates and becomes an alcoholic, a drug addict or a stripper…. and military wives are not the most faithful either and often are not very good mothers.
My conclusion is that military life often improves men but the opposite appears to be true for women. Obviously, there are tons of exceptions so spare me the one-in-a million stories of your grandma getting a purple heart for killing Hitler while Grandpa stayed at the farm. In general, I believe women should avoid military service if they want to prevail in a custody dispute. Men however seem to understand that being deployable in the military obviously means a disadvantage during a custody dispute while poor Britney simply blames everyone else.
So good luck to this young lady, her family and child. I doubt she will prevail though. The laws in place, at least now, protecting military personnel from losing custody while deployed are very good.