Sunday, May 06, 2007

Children Being Taken From Active Duty Soldiers

This story is just horrible. The AP is reporting numerous cases of soldiers serving in the military that have had their children taken away while they are in active duty.

Some family court judges say that determining what's best for a child in a custody case is simply not comparable to deciding civil property disputes and the like; they have ruled that family law trumps the federal law protecting servicemembers. And so, in many cases when a soldier deploys, the ex-spouse seeks custody, and temporary changes become lasting.
One of these cases is an Iowa National Guardsman...

Iowa Guardsman Mike Grantham thought he was serving the best interests of his children when he arranged for his son and daughter to stay with his mother before reporting for duty in August 2002. She lived a few blocks from the kids' school in Clarksville, Iowa, and he figured, "There wouldn't be much disruption."

He had raised Brianna and Jeremy since his 2000 divorce, when ex-wife Tammara turned physical custody over to him.

After mobilizing, Grantham was served with a custody petition from Tammara, delivered to his unit's armory. His lawyer tried twice to request a stay under the federal law. His commanding officer even wrote a letter stating that Grantham's battalion was charged with protecting U.S. facilities deemed national security interests and that his case would cause the entire command structure "to refocus away from the military mission."

The trial judge nevertheless held hearings without Grantham and temporarily placed the children with Tammara. A year later, though Grantham had returned from duty, the judge made Tammara the primary physical custodian.

An appeals court later sided with Grantham, saying: "A soldier, who answered our Nation's call to defend, lost physical care of his children ... offending our intrinsic sense of right and wrong."

But the Iowa Supreme Court disagreed, saying Tammara was "presently the most effective parent."

Now, Grantham says, his visitation rights mirror those that his ex-wife once had: every other weekend, Wednesdays, and certain holidays _ Father's Day, for example.

These people are already sacrificing so much and now their children are being taken away from them. How much more can we ask our troops to sacrifice?


desmoinesdem said...

That is horrendous. What a terrible situation for all concerned, especially for the children.

The Real Sporer said...

This is grossly misleading. First, the Grantham decisions are published on line, I strongly urge someone to actually read them before opining on that case.

Moreover, how can someone on active duty overseas rear a child in Iowa?

This is just another attempt to undercut public morale by focusing only on the costs, and not the gains, of warfare. Shameless.

noneed4thneed said...

"How can someone on active duty overseas rear a child in Iowa?"

They can't, but they should not lose permanent custody of the child.

So the tearing apart families is ok with someone who says they are the party of family values? Hypocrisy at its finest.

The Real Sporer said...

no need,

i see you have returned to the safer waters of democrat blogging. i have to say, before i paddle you, that this might be the best D blog in iowa. no content control. how ecumencal.

the families are already torn apart-that's why there is a custody issue in the first place.

i urge you to read some case law in iowa about custodial placement. one of the core principles is that custody should be fixed and rarely disturbed. while it is unfortunate for the children involved (generally speaking)to have their custodial placement disrupted by a parent's deployment can you say that the children would be better served by disrupting the permanant custody a second time when the deployment ends and the soldier parent returns?

having said that, I am just playing devil's advocate/custody lawyer (which i am in real life). i think that this is one of those things that is so unjust that a social interest outweighs the disruption in the kid's lives. our modern custody law frequently imposes injustice out of misperception that children can/should be preserved by the state from any negativity in their lives. An unfortunate but logically predictable over reach of a major part of the liberal religous belief structure "its all for the children".

hoisted on your own liberal petard. it must have been made in pre conservative Sarkozy france.