The Air Pressure will now think about custody agreements for youngsters on responsibility

Airmen with legal custody arrangements have more control over staying close to their children thanks to a new policy change.

The Air Force will now consider child custody and offer Airmen the option of requesting an assignment near their children or a postponement to stay close to them. This will also be the case if the aviator is not married to his co-parent, the service announced on August 5.

“We know that family dynamics are not always the same and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing people’s careers and responsibilities,” Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, assistant chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, said in a press release. “We ask our employees to move frequently, and we know that doing so can create additional stress and sacrifice for their families. This change gives us the flexibility we need to take better care of them.”

In the press release, officials noted that despite the added flexibility the new policy adds, the troops must continue to meet the requirements of the service, perform their duties and be eligible for a permanent change in station movements.

“This is one we’ve been working on for a while and I’m glad we got it over the finish line,” Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Kaleth O. Wright said in the press release. “This Air Force life is a family business, so we owe it to our teammates to ensure they have every opportunity to keep their families together whenever possible.”

Eligible applicants must be named as birth or adopted parents and have a judicial custody agreement. Assignment matches that meet the requirements of the division of the Air Force will be conducted whenever possible, the press release said.

Airmen can apply via myPers from August 17th.

In light of the growing number of custody and visiting problems among military families, the Law on Custody and Visitation of Unified Parents was passed by the National Conference of Commissioners on Unified State Laws in 2012. By 2020, 14 countries had passed it.

Under this law, the courts must consider a military parent’s engagements and not use them as the sole basis for determining custody.

The change will come after General David Goldfein’s tenure as Chief of Staff of the Air Force. During his time in the Post, he shared his interest in keeping female aviators in particular, a challenge often closely related to parenting requirements.

“In our study, Air Force officers’ focus groups discussed children or the desire to have a family as major factors in deciding whether to remain on duty or to leave and found that frequent moves, assignments and demanding work schedules are difficult,” it said Executive Behavior and social scientist Miriam Mathews wrote for Rand Corp. in 2018.

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