House Bill 1419, the Military Parents Rights Act is important proposed legislation that could become a new law that delineates parenting rights when a person serving in the military receives deployment orders. Under this House Bill, a Final Parenting Order will not be changed due to a deployment of any active duty military member or reservist. Rather than change the Parenting Plan, the Court would issue Temporary Orders for the period of deployment. Upon the request of the deployed parent, the Court may delegate all or part of his/her parenting time to a person he/she cohabitates with, or another person with a close and substantial relationship to the child, if it is in the child’s best interests.
Although I am a veteran and continually advocate for the rights of my fellow service members; I do not believe that this Bill adequately protects the fundamental rights of parents.
Consider this hypothetical: Dad and Mom have been divorced for ten years, and have a 12 year-old child. Dad is a U.S. Marine Reservist and gets orders for a one-year deployment in Iraq. He then “delegates” his parenting rights to his girlfriend. Mom believes that girlfriend should not be granted the same rights to her child as a parent normally would have. Mom believes that this right is affected because girlfriend is 23 years old, has no children of her own, and Mom believes girlfriend has questionable ethics and morals.
This is a slippery slope; to what end should the Court be permitted to grant “parental rights” to an individual who is in fact, not a parent.
For more information, contact Attorney Mike Fontaine