Military mom's custody battle continues

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By Tim McNicholas

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Updated: Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:36:20 CST

Last April we told you about a mother's custody battle to keep her children. She claimed that her military status played a role in losing sole physical custody of her kids. Just this week, the courts ruled it wasn't the whole story. Serving in the military can be a pretty strong reason to lose-or retain-custody of your children. But Nebraska law states that it cannot be the only reason. Danelle Schwartz served in the National Guard for 13 years. And she claims that's exactly why she lost sole physical custody of her children. But both the Hall County Court and now the Nebraska Court of Appeals have ruled that untrue. "Service members, deployment, military status and a number of other related factors cannot be, by itself, sole basis for a custody determination," said father's attorney Nancy Johnson. Danelle Schwartz and Colby Collins began their divorce process three years ago. The custody battle for their two children has consisted of a 2012 ruling in Mr. Collins' favor. Schwartz fought that through the Court of Appeals, who agreed with the original ruling on Tuesday. "I'm just very thankful and very happy the appellant court saw the case for what it was," father Colby Collin said. It's in Chapter 43 of the Nebraska Parenting Act. Military duty shall not, by itself, be sufficient to justify an order involving custody. "Well, from the beginning, we never thought that the custody issue had to do with military, it had to do with who was the most fit and proper parent to be the custodial parent for the children." Mr. Collins says both parents are capable. But factors like location and consistency in the kids' lives make him the better option. Ms. Schwartz rejects that notion. She feels she's better fit for custody. "I really hope that this attention can be put to bed and the kids can move on with their lives." Schwartz's lawyer says this might not be over. Attorney Bob Creager is weighing their options which include a filing for further review of the decision by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
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