An important California Appeals Court case has recently been handed down regarding the restoration of child custody rights to a father who had been sent on deployment in Afghanistan.  The case, entitled In re Marriage of E.U. and J.E, was an appeal of a post-judgment order.

According to court documents, the case concerned the parents of a child, both of whom were in the military.  In 2001, the couple decided to pursue a divorce, and the parents were awarded joint custody, although Father was awarded primary custody per the original decision of the divorce court.

However, Father was eventually deployed to Afghanistan, and Mother took primary custody of the child per the original divorce decree.  When Father returned from deployment and requested to have primary custody restored per the original divorce decree, mother disagreed.  A court-appointed doctor decided that the child would be better suited by finishing the school year with Mother.

The appellate court decided the doctor should never have been appointed and that primary custody should revert to Father.  During this legal battle, the California Legislature passed a statue that provided for the return of primary custody to parents who are ordered to go on deployment.

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