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article imageTroops Lose Custody Of Children For Going To War

By malan     May 5, 2007 in World
Single parents deployed by US Military return home to find they've lost custody of their children to ex-husbands and ex-wives while they were gone.
Single parent soldiers are fighting two wars when they are deployed by the US government. The first is the war they are being sent to fight in, the second is the custody battle when they return home and find out that their children have been legally taken away from them while they were gone.
Eva Crouch a member of the Kentucky National Guard was asked to leave home and serve for a year and a half. Crouch's daughter, the product of a now defunct marriage that ended in divorce was sent to live with her dad while she was away serving her country.
A year and a half later she returned home from her assignment and could not wait to return to her normal life and pick up her daughter from the dad's house. She called her ex-husband and proclaimed that she was back and was going to drive over to pick up her daughter and the dad informed her that she could not legally take the daughter back without a court order.
Before she left Eva was the legal caregiver of the child and the stay with dad was supposed to be temporary, so why was she now being asked to go to court to battle over custody rights again? What had changed?
Nothing had changed, other than the fact that she had answered the call to go and serve her country.
As it turns out, Eva is not alone and there are approximately 140,000 other single parents that are also soldiers that return home and find things different than when they left. So how is this happening?
There are federal laws in place called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act that protect soldiers from civil court actions and administrative proceedings while they are away serving in the military. It ensures that soldiers cannot be evicted, creditors can't seize their property for late payments and employers must reinstate employment upon their return... all of these things are protected... but the children it seems are not and are being taken away from them while they are deployed.
Soldiers find themselves in legal battles and some, like Eva Crouch end up spending $25,000.00 and more just to get their children back.
I’d have spent a million,” Eva says. “My child was my life ... I go serve my country, and I come back and have to go through hell and high water.”
The problem is that when soldiers are sent away the other parent sees it as a golden opportunity to do whatever they want. The other parent is obviously out of pocket and can do little to defend themselves in the courts back home.
The law is definitely flawed and should be changed. Even some supporters of the federal law think it should be changed and soldiers should be ensured that they cannot lose custody of the children while they are away. If laws can protect your home, your job and your credit... why not your children?
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