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Soldier with PTSD continues child-custody battle

Whether a child is an infant or in their teens, it is often best to have both parents in their life. Missouri parents understand that divorce can be problematic because parents may not get along or they do not reside near each other. Careers and other life factors can further complicate custody arrangements, which could lead to future disputes.

A soldier who acquired post-traumatic stress disorder during his time in the Iraq combat zone continues his custody battle for his 2-year-old son. The battle with the child's mother had been in limbo for more than a year while both sides waited to see whether a doctor working for the Veteran's Administration would be compelled to testify about the soldier's PTSD. A federal court judge has just ruled that the VA doctor's testimony was unnecessary.

The boy's mother has indicated that she is afraid the father may act irrationally when the child needs him most. The man has said that the time he spends with his son helps him cope and he has not had any negative experiences in his time with the little boy.

A temporary order has given the man custody of his son four nights every two weeks, but he wants at least equal time with his son if not primary custody. A two-day trial is expected before the family judge announces his decision. Unless a parent's condition poses a risk to the child's safety, he or she can assume child custody and visitation rights.

Most soldiers returning from war look forward to being with their family and children. Military personnel serving in combat zones, however, sometimes experience such horrific events that they experience profound emotional and mental distress, which often compromises family relationships.

Assigning child custody depends on several factors that would ultimately determine which arrangement best meets a child's interests. Child custody is not about one parent defeating the other but rather about the best interest of the child.

The foremost consideration in determining child custody is the child's needs and the relationship with parents. Any parent who thinks the child custody arrangement should be modified, should seek change by legal means. Seeking advice can help determine what options they have while also preserving their rights and interests.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Syracuse-Area Veteran with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Goes To Trial Thursday Over Custody of Son," Douglass Dowty, Dec. 11, 2013

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