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custody for Air Force families in Colorado Springs

Custody for Air Force Families in Colorado Springs

What Military Parents Need to Know

Child custody battles are complex and emotionally charged disputes that can profoundly impact all family members involved. For families within the Air Force in Colorado Springs, as well as all other branches of the military, these challenges are compounded by the unique demands of military service, including frequent relocations, deployments, and the balancing of duty to country with parental responsibilities. Understanding how child custody looks for Air Force personnel and military families requires a deep understanding of the interplay between military commitments and family law. At Colorado Legal Group we are very familiar with working with military families, especially Air Force families in Colorado Springs facing a child custody case.

A Real-World Airforce Custody Case

Here’s a real-world scenario of a previous client, who will remain anonymous, we’ll refer to the father as John Doe, an Air Force pilot, and the mother, Jane Doe, a school teacher, who went through a military divorce several years ago and share custody of their two children, Josh (17) and Amy (15) in Colorado Springs. Their arrangement faces unexpected challenges when John receives orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) to another base across the country, requiring him to leave the Colorado Springs area. While the two have been able to co-parent effectively and knew relocation could be a possibility at any time, a permanent change of this nature will alter the family’s day-to-day lives and routines. This will ultimately require the child custody agreement to be modified to reflect the family’s new reality of John no longer residing in the same state as his children. Let’s discuss how we were able to help this family reach an agreement that was in the best interests of the children.

Unique Characteristics of Child Custody Battles in Air Force Families

Like many military families, Air Force families in Colorado Springs often contend with a dynamic lifestyle that can significantly influence child custody arrangements. Key characteristics that make these family dynamics and situations unique include:

Frequent Relocations

Military lifestyles often necessitate regular moves across the country or even internationally, a reality that significantly impacts family dynamics. For John and Jane, as for many military families, these relocations are not just logistical challenges but emotional ones as well. Each move can mean a new school for their children, the loss of close friendships, and the need to adapt quickly to new environments. In child custody arrangements, this can lead to complex negotiations to ensure that despite the distance, both parents maintain a strong presence in their children’s lives.


The transient lifestyle associated with the Air Force and broader military life brings unique challenges to legal proceedings, particularly in the realm of family law and child custody battles. Jurisdictional issues often emerge as a formidable obstacle, given the frequent relocations that are characteristic of Air Force member’s service. Determining the child’s home state, which is crucial for establishing where a child custody case can be filed and adjudicated, becomes complicated when families have moved across state lines or even internationally due to military orders. This complexity is not merely a bureaucratic hurdle; it significantly affects the legal strategies available to both parents. Lawyers representing military families must navigate these jurisdictional waters with precision, ensuring that their client’s case is heard in a forum that best serves the child’s interests while also considering the logistical realities of military service.


Deployments are an integral aspect of military life and can necessitate service members to undertake missions in far-flung, often undisclosed locations for prolonged durations. This aspect of service places considerable stress on existing child custody agreements, especially concerning the preservation of consistent contact between the deployed parent and their offspring. While modern technology offers a semblance of connection through video calls, emails, and messaging, it cannot fully compensate for the physical absence of a parent, which can extend over several months. This absence poses significant challenges to sustaining strong familial bonds, as children may struggle with the emotional distance and changes in daily routines that come with a parent’s deployment. Furthermore, it complicates co-parenting arrangements, as the on-site parent must single-handedly navigate day-to-day parenting responsibilities, making decisions that would typically be shared, thereby adding another layer of complexity to the family dynamics.

Visitation During Deployments

For Air Force families in Colorado Springs, deployments and temporary duty assignments pose significant challenges to maintaining traditional child custody arrangements. The very nature of military service, with its inherent unpredictability and the potential for sudden deployments, necessitates a flexible approach to child custody and visitation. Traditional child custody agreements often require adjustments or temporary modifications to account for periods when the military parent is away, ensuring the child’s life is disrupted as minimally as possible. These modifications might include granting the civilian parent more time during deployments, with the understanding that child custody can rebalance upon the service member’s return. Additionally, the advent of technology has introduced new forms of visitation, such as video calls, allowing deployed parents to maintain a visual and emotional connection with their children despite the physical distance. Crafting these agreements often requires a collaborative effort, with both parents working towards solutions that prioritize the well-being of their children above all. This collaborative approach not only supports the child’s need for stability and ongoing relationships with both parents but also respects the service member’s commitment to their country.

Operational Tempo

The rigorous and often unpredictable schedule that defines the lives of Air Force personnel can significantly affect their capacity to engage in child custody hearings and adhere to established child custody agreements. This aspect of military service, characterized by sudden deployments, training exercises, and operational duties, adds a layer of complexity to the already challenging process of navigating child custody disputes. Despite these challenges, a critical constant in all custody proceedings, including those involving Air Force families in Colorado Springs, is the court’s commitment to prioritizing the child’s best interests. This fundamental principle remains at the heart of every decision, ensuring that the unique demands of military service do not overshadow the paramount goal of securing a nurturing and stable environment for the child. However, the very nature of the Air Force’s operational tempo, with its inherent unpredictability, necessitates a flexible and understanding approach from all parties involved, striving to balance the exigencies of national service with the equally important responsibilities of parenthood.

Legal Framework and Regulations Specific to Air Force Families in Colorado Springs

The intersection of military service and family law creates a unique landscape for Air Force families in Colorado Springs navigating child custody disputes. The unique challenges these families face include deployments, relocations, and the rigorous demands of military life. The legal framework involved with child custody cases for Air Force families in Colorado Springs and all military families is not different from non-military families. The law for child custody cases doesn’t change based on whether or not you served in the military, it does however reflect a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by military families.

Addressing Custody Matters for Air Force Families

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Consider the Following

What Factors Will a Judge Use to Determine a Military Child Custody Case in Colorado Springs?

Custody considerations for Air Force families in Colorado Springs to those of civilian families are broadly the same when evaluating the fundamental factors in child custody cases, with the main emphasis on the child's best interests. However, the context and implications of these factors can differ significantly due to the unique aspects of military life. Here's a closer look at how certain factors might differ or be additionally considered in Air Force custody cases in Colorado Springs:

Deployment and Relocations: While stability and continuity are important in all child custody cases, the potential for frequent moves and deployments in military families gets special attention. Civilian families generally do not face the same level of uncertainty and disruption due to job-related relocations or deployments.

Legal Protections Under Military Law: Military parents are afforded certain protections under laws like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which can delay court proceedings due to deployment. These protections do not apply in civilian custody cases.

Care Plans During Absences: Military custody cases often require detailed care plans for periods of deployment, addressing who will take care of the child in the Air Force parent's absence. While civilian cases might consider a parent's travel or work schedule, the extent and duration of absences in military cases are usually more substantial.

Access to Military Benefits: The benefits available to children of military parents, such as healthcare, education, and housing, can be factors in determining child custody, as these benefits can significantly impact the child's well-being.

Jurisdiction Challenges: Military families often move across state lines or internationally, which can complicate jurisdictional issues in child custody disputes. Civilian families may move, but the frequency and international scope of moves are generally less common.

Facilitating Contact with the Non-Military Parent: In military custody cases, there's a specific focus on how the military parent can facilitate the child's relationship with the non-military parent, especially considering potential obstacles like deployments and relocations.

While the best interests of the child remain central in both military and civilian custody cases, the unique demands of military service introduce specific considerations that judges must weigh. These considerations reflect the need to balance the service member's duties to their country with their responsibilities as a parent, ensuring that child custody arrangements serve the child's needs and welfare.

Will Regulations Affect My Case?

The short answer is yes; regulations can significantly affect your case if you are part of an Air Force family engaged in a child custody dispute in Colorado Springs. These regulations are designed to ensure that the Air Force member’s duties do not unduly prejudice their child custody rights or responsibilities. For instance, John’s deployment will be considered within the context of child custody arrangements, with courts often making accommodations to ensure that the service member's relationship with their child is preserved. Although John and Jane have lived in Colorado Springs for several years and didn’t face jurisdictional challenges, for many military families this is something they will need to consider. Frequent relocations are addressed through laws that determine the most appropriate venue for child custody proceedings, considering the child's best interests and the family's ties to specific locations.

The legal landscape for Air Force families in Colorado Springs is nuanced, aiming to balance the demands of service to the country with the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. Understanding this specialized legal framework is crucial for Air Force families as they navigate the complexities of child custody disputes, ensuring that their unique circumstances are recognized and fairly considered in the pursuit of the best possible outcomes for their children and reducing any negative impacts associated with child custody changes.

Impact of Air Force Base Transfers on Child Custody

As we’ve addressed, Air Force base transfers are a common aspect of military life and can have a profound impact on child custody arrangements and the overall dynamics of military families. These transfers, often necessitated by operational requirements or career progression, can significantly disrupt established child custody and visitation schedules, leading to a need for flexibility and adaptation by all parties involved. Let’s break down some of the impacts John and Jane will need to consider when modifying their child custody agreement.

Challenges to Stability and Continuity

The primary challenge posed by Air Force base transfers is the potential disruption to the stability and continuity of the child’s life. Such relocations can mean changes in schools, loss of proximity to one parent, and adjustments to new communities, all of which can be stressful for children. Child custody arrangements that were once deemed appropriate may no longer serve the best interests of the child following a transfer, necessitating a reassessment and possible modification of the child custody order.

In John’s and Jane’s situation, they have two high school-aged children, one of which is a senior and a star basketball player in Colorado Springs. Uprooting and relocating to be closer to John’s new base could have a significant impact on their son Josh’s season and ability to obtain an athletic scholarship to different colleges. Their younger daughter is also a student-athlete and in her sophomore year of high school, a pivotal time for many adolescents. It may not be in their children’s best interests to relocate. John and Jane will need to work together to reach an agreement that allows them each to continue spending time with their children without significantly disrupting their lives in a way that could impact future opportunities.

Legal Considerations and Modifications

From a legal perspective, base transfers require careful navigation of child custody agreements and the potential for modifications. Courts generally strive to maintain arrangements that support the child’s relationship with both parents. However, the mobility inherent to military service, particularly in the Air Force, means that these arrangements must be adaptable. Parents may need to return to court to seek modifications to child custody and visitation orders to reflect new circumstances. Such modifications might include adjustments to visitation schedules, transportation arrangements, or the allocation of additional visitation time to compensate for increased distance between the child and the non-custodial parent. With the complexity and unique challenges of modifying child custody arrangements for military families, it is crucial to enlist the help of a family law attorney who is experienced in handling an Air Force child custody case in Colorado Springs.

Collaboration and Communication

Effective communication and collaboration between John and Jane, and military families alike, become even more crucial in the context of base transfers. Open dialogue about potential moves, their timing, and impacts on the child can help mitigate negative effects. Proactively discussing and planning for these changes can lead to more amicable solutions that prioritize the child’s well-being. Additionally, making use of technology for virtual visitation can help maintain the bond between the child and the non-relocated parent, ensuring that physical distance does not equate to emotional distance.

Support Systems and Resources

The Air Force and other military branches offer support systems and resources to assist families with base transfers, including family support centers, and counseling. These resources can provide valuable guidance and support to families navigating the complexities of child custody arrangements amid the challenges of relocation. Utilizing these different support systems coupled with the experienced Colorado Legal Group attorneys in Colorado Springs can help families transition more smoothly and maintain focus on the child’s best interests throughout the process. By addressing these challenges head-on, with a focus on collaboration and support, military families in Colorado Springs can navigate the complexities of base transfers while ensuring the well-being of their children remains at the forefront of all decisions.

What the Non-Military Parent Needs to Know

If you aren't in the military, but your co-parent is, the thought of relocation can be just as stressful for you as it is for your co-parent. Relocation is a big shift in everyone's life, especially your children. While being able to work with your co-parent to create an arrangement that works for both of you may require an extra effort on your part when it comes to accommodations, there are still measures you can take to protect yourself and the time you spend with your children.

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Client and Attorney Perspectives

While John and Jane were aware of the potential for such orders, the reality of relocating across the country presented a complex situation. The primary concern is maintaining the children's stability and ensuring that the new child custody arrangement reflects their best interests, including uninterrupted education and extracurricular activities, emotional well-being, and the continuation of strong relationships with both parents. Similarly their family law attorney at Colorado Legal Group strives for a similar outcome, minimizing the negative impacts on the family’s day to day life while keeping the primary focus of any modifications made to be in the best interests of the child.

Client Perspective

From John and Jane's viewpoint, the need to revise their custody agreement underscores the tension between duty to country and commitment to family. John's permanent change of station order is non-negotiable, a fact that Air Force families in Colorado Springs often have to accept. However, the implications for their children's daily lives would be profound if the family were to uproot Colorado Springs and follow John to his new base. While John worries about the impact of his absence on the children's development and the increased parenting load on Jane, he is aware that having his family move may not be in the best interests of his two children. On the other hand, Jane is concerned about taking on more day to day responsibilities with John out of state, as well as the logistics of facilitating regular contact between the children and their father from afar.

Though permanent change of station is a constant concern, many Air Force families in Colorado Springs run into the challenge posed when the non-military parent, like Jane, considers moving out of state. Although this scenario is not pertinent for John and Jane it can be for many other military families and introduces a complex layer of difficulties. Still requiring both parents to figure out how to maintain a significant presence in their children's lives despite the geographical distance and demanding military schedules. 

In Colorado Springs, this issue is not uncommon. The community sees many Air Force families navigating the intricacies of custody and visitation surrounding relocations. The support of a skilled Colorado Springs attorney becomes invaluable in these situations, providing much-needed guidance through the legal journey of custody agreements and visitation rights. With the assistance of a family lawyer experienced in custody cases for Air Force families in Colorado Springs, families like John and Jane's can explore various solutions, such as flexible visitation schedules that account for the military parent's availability, virtual visitation options to maintain daily contact, and arrangements for extended visitation during leave periods.

Attorney Perspective

As an attorney at Colorado Legal Group, our role is to ensure the court comprehends the full spectrum of the Air Force parent's capability to provide a nurturing and stable environment for their children, despite the unpredictability of military life in Colorado Springs. This includes the necessity of a detailed parenting plan that includes provisions for electronic communication, transportation logistics for visitation, and the division of holidays and school breaks. Moreover, our attorneys can point out the importance of including clauses that address potential future relocations, aiming to minimize the need for repeated legal modifications saving clients time and money in the future.

In crafting child custody agreements, we are aware of the need for flexibility to accommodate the Air Force  parent's schedule, including deployments and training exercises. Negotiating visitation rights and parenting plans that are adaptable to the fluid nature of military obligations while ensuring consistent and meaningful contact with both parents is a delicate balancing act. This flexibility is vital in maintaining the bond between the child and the Air Force parent in Colorado Springs, fostering a sense of security and continuity amidst the changes.

The attorney-client partnership is essential in navigating these complexities. We strive to advocate for custody arrangements that safeguard the children's best interests while honoring the service and sacrifices that will need to be made by both parents. In Colorado Springs, our experience has shown that with the right legal guidance, it is possible to arrive at solutions that respect the needs of all parties involved.

Getting The Best Outcome For Your Child Custody Case in Colorado Springs

Achieving the most favorable outcome in a child custody case, especially within military life, requires strategic planning, collaboration, and the help of experienced legal professionals. For Air Force families in Colorado Springs, there are ways to help you receive the best outcome for your case.

Steps the Client Can Take to Help Their Case

1. Detailed Planning and Documentation: Begin with thorough planning and maintain detailed records of your current custody arrangement, your child’s needs, and how the proposed changes might better serve those needs. Document communication and attempts to collaborate with the other parent as this will be invaluable should your case require legal intervention.

2. Understanding Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Gain a clear understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities, both as a member of The Air Force and as a parent in Colorado Springs. This knowledge will be crucial in negotiating terms that are in the best interest of your child while also aligning with military commitments.

3. Proactive Communication: Proactively communicate with the other parent to discuss the impending changes and how they might affect the custody arrangement. Open, honest dialogue can pave the way for mutual agreement without court intervention.

Importance of Collaboration with the Other Parent

Collaboration with the other parent is often the key to achieving the preferred outcome in custody arrangements. A cooperative approach both facilitates a more amicable resolution, and significantly benefits the children involved, ensuring their needs and well-being are prioritized. Strategies for effective collaboration include:

  • Regular, Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open, aiming for constructive discussions focused on the well-being of the children.
  • Flexibility and Compromise: Be willing to compromise and find middle ground that serves the best interests of the children while accommodating each parent’s situation.
  • Child-Centric Approach: Keep the focus squarely on the needs and best interests of the children, using this as the guiding principle for any adjustments to the custody arrangement.

Attorney Intervention: When Collaboration Fails

Despite best efforts, there are instances where collaboration may not yield the desired outcome, often due to disagreements on the custody terms or the lack of willingness from one parent to negotiate. In such cases, attorney intervention becomes not just recommended, but necessary. Here’s how an attorney in Colorado Springs can make a significant difference:

  • Advocacy: Attorneys step in to advocate for your needs and rights, presenting a strong case to the court that outlines why your proposed custody arrangement serves the best interest of your children.
  • Negotiation: Experienced in negotiation, attorneys can often find solutions that the parties might not have considered, bridging gaps and resolving disputes.
  • Legal Leverage: Attorneys can use legal strategies and precedents to strengthen your position, ensuring the court understands the nuances of your situation, especially the unique challenges posed by military service.

Attorneys push for what you want and need. Their intervention is designed to advocate on your behalf, striving for a resolution that aligns with your preferences and, most importantly, serves the best interests of your children. At Colorado Legal Group, our Colorado Springs attorneys are always there to help encourage and facilitate collaboration whether it is establishing a new custody arrangement or modifying an existing one. At the same time we aren’t afraid to fiercely defend our clients if collaboration is not attainable.

Navigating Custody and Relocation for Air Force Families: Attorney Tips

For Air Force families in Colorado Springs undergoing the complexities of a custody case, especially when considering relocation, it helps to know how the courts typically view these situations and what they are looking for when making their decisions. Here are some tips from a Colorado Springs attorney’s perspective, designed to guide you through this challenging process:

Understand Court Considerations

When relocation is part of your custody case in Colorado Springs, it’s essential to recognize the broad spectrum of factors courts consider to determine the arrangement that best serves the child’s interest. These include:

  • Connections to Each Parent: The emotional and physical relationship between the child and each parent is a primary focus. Courts evaluate the depth of these connections, including the involvement in daily activities, caregiving, and emotional support.
  • Child’s Wishes: Depending on the child’s age and maturity, their preferences may be considered, especially in cases where they have a strong preference for residing with one parent over the other. With John and Jane having older children, their preferences will definitely come into consideration with the courts.
  • Parents’ Wishes: The desires of each parent regarding the custody arrangement and potential relocation are taken into account, with an emphasis on the reasons behind these wishes.
  • Community Connections: The child’s integration into their current community is critically evaluated. This includes ties to family members, friendships, involvement in sports and extracurricular activities, and the stability offered by the current educational setting.

Proactive Steps for Relocation Consideration

For parents contemplating relocation, taking proactive steps can significantly strengthen your case, demonstrating a commitment to maintaining the child’s stability and well-being. Consider the following strategies:

  • Establish Strong Community Ties: Actively involve your child in the local community through sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities. This establishes a network of support and demonstrates your child’s integration into the current environment.
  • Document Involvement: Keep detailed records of your participation in your child’s life, including attendance at school events, medical appointments, and regular activities. This documentation can illustrate your ongoing commitment to their well-being.
  • Start Early: If you’re considering relocation, begin the process of establishing these connections well in advance. Demonstrating a long-term engagement in your child’s life and community can be a persuasive factor in court.

These were all things John and Jane considered as potential possibilities when they made their custody arrangement the first time. While both John and Jane were prepared for a permanent change of station, it is never easy and sacrifices often have to be made. Both parents came to the conclusion it would be in the best interests of both children to stay in Colorado Springs with Jane in order to maintain stability in school and extracurricular activities. While there is a new visitation schedule in place to reflect the family’s new reality, Jane is aware there could be times she may need to adapt in order to accomodate John’s fluctuating schedule to allow her children to maintain a healthy relationship with their father.

Focus on the Best Interest of the Child

Ultimately, every decision the court makes is guided by what is considered to be in the best interest of the child whether you are an Air Force family in Colorado Springs or not. This overarching principle encompasses the child’s emotional, physical, and educational well-being. As you navigate the complexities of a child custody case with relocation considerations, keeping the focus on your child’s needs, stability, and happiness can not only help in presenting your case but also in ensuring that the outcome serves the best interests of your child.

Air Force families in Colorado Springs grappling with child custody challenges require a strategic, informed, and proactive approach to secure outcomes that best serve their family’s needs. Understanding the unique aspects of Air Force related custody cases is essential in navigating this process successfully. At Colorado Legal Group, we specialize in providing expert guidance and the advocacy necessary to tackle these complexities head-on. Our Colorado Springs team is dedicated to understanding your unique situation within the Air Force and working to achieve a resolution that protects your family’s interests. If you’re facing the uncertainties of child custody arrangements and relocation due to the Air Force, let us be your ally. Contact Colorado Legal Group in Colorado Springs today to ensure your journey through the legal process is guided by experience, empathy, and a commitment to securing the best possible outcome for you and your children.

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