The most paramount concern in matters of child custody is the safety and best interests of the children involved. When a divorcing spouse tries to take advantage of a situation like a military deployment, it can have deleterious effects on the children involved. A recent child custody matter that was finally settled shows what can happen when people don't consider their children's interests.
A drill sergeant in the U.S. Army was away from his residence due to military service when his wife moved away, gave birth a put the child up for adoption without the husband knowing. Their divorce was eventually finalized last year, but the man had been locked in a legal battle until recently to get back custody of his daughter.
The couple who adopted the girl had raised the girl since she was born, but said in a legal filing recently that they were giving up their pursuit to keep custody. They said they wanted the girl to be happy more than they wanted custody of her. A judge had ruled in January that the organization that handled the adoption had violated the father's rights.
Luckily, the Army is allowing the man to take a desk job so that he can fulfill his duties as a single parent. Custody laws are different in every state, but giving a child up for adoption without a parent's knowledge is always sure to lead to a messy legal battle. Parents can waive their parental rights, but the man in this case never did. It's good that a judge realized that the best interests of the child likely lie with a biological parent who wants to be a parent.
Source: Associated Press, "Utah adoptive couple give up legal fight to keep child," Paul Foy, Feb. 13, 2013