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How the Air Force is changing its approach to child custody

Moving around a lot is part of the job description when enlisting in the air service branch of the United States Armed Forces. For Air Force service members in Oklahoma who have children at home, there’s always the concern that your service to your country will be to the detriment of your role as a parent.

One of the major changes to the Air Force’s child custody policies is that those who have court-ordered child custody decrees will be stationed close to their children whenever the situation allows. This applies to both space professionals and station airmen.

Keeping families together whenever possible

These are important policy changes for all impacted service members to be aware of because it allows them to take certain actions and make requests to keep their family together. For instance, a service member has the option to request that an assignment is deferred if it would remove them from their custody situation. This is a completely new direction in the Air Force’s assignment considerations, but the service member often must bring the request forward to their superiors for the situation to be noticed.

This is a change that impacts biological parents as well as those who have adopted. To apply for assignments that keep them near their children, the service member has to be named as the parent and have a court-ordered child custody agreement.

While the Air Force has added this child custody consideration to the factors that go into a service member’s assignment, the best interests of the military branch. If there’s no feasible way to station an individual near their children or if there are urgent assignments elsewhere, service member parents may still be stationed away from their kids. Airmen still don’t have the power to simply veto assignments they don’t like.

It’s a big move to serve in the armed forces, and often difficult to juggle family land work life when you’re on active duty. That’s why so many service member parents are grateful for the new approach to child custody that the Air Force has taken, keeping parents stationed close to their kids whenever it’s possible.