By Jessica Bakeman
ALBANY—The State Senate passed a bill Thursday that would remove military deployment from consideration in child custody cases.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Greg Ball, a Putnam County Republican who is a retired Air Force officer, would also require that the custody arrangement in place prior to deployment be reinstated when a military parent returns home.
Ball said he authored the legislation after a mother in his district, who served in the National Guard, lost custody of her son upon returning home from a deployment in Iraq.
“We had a mom that had deployed in service of her country and felt that that factor was actually used against her, so this is an important piece of legislation,” Ball said Wednesday after the bill passed 61-0 in the Senate.
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat who is an Army veteran, is the bill’s sponsor in that chamber. Ortiz did not immediately return a request for comment.
When asked about the bill’s chances in the other house, Ball said: “I never can guess what’s going to happen in the Assembly, but Assemblyman Ortiz has been an awesome advocate on veterans’ issues. Now that we’ve passed this early enough in the year, hopefully that will give it a little bit of momentum.” (ARTICLE)