P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2007
AUSTIN -- The Senate today approved SB 43 by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, protecting the rights of military service members in custody proceedings. The bill now moves to the House for further consideration.
"There are numerous considerations that factor into decisions about custody of children. This legislation will ensure that military service is not one of them," Senator Nelson said. "We should honor the service of our service men and women by not using it against them in court."
Current law does not prevent courts from taking custody of a child away from a military parent while that parent is still deployed. SB 43 amends Chapter 156 of the Texas Family Code to clarify that court orders establishing conservatorship and access to a child may not be made based on the guardian's status during active duty deployment.
Texas is home to more than 200,000 active duty, reserve and National Guard troops. As troops are deployed and, in some cases, redeployed overseas, the likelihood of these cases entering Texas family courts increases. Several states, including Michigan and California have passed similar legislation in order to prevent parents from being punished for serving our country.