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Can the civilian spouse argue that he or she should get custody because his or her partner is in the military?

The mere fact of military service is not enough to prevent being awarded custodial rights. In fact, in some ways, life as a military dependent can be advantageous: most posts and bases have excellent school systems and many opportunities for recreation. In addition, most military bases have day-care facilities. All of the above are provided to a service member at no cost. One must not forget that there is also the post exchange, or PX, where many consumer goods can be purchased at greatly reduced prices. A female service person with children may be able to make a strong argument for her custody rights, given the above.

Of course both spouses must come to terms with the fact that in the military the needs of the service come first. An overseas assignment could derange the best laid plans for custody.