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Locating a service member to establish child custody orders

In Tennessee, just like everywhere else in the United States, it may not be possible for a custodial parent to know about the location of a non-custodial parent, particularly if the individual is a service member. The nature of the military service is such that the work station, along with the primary address of the person, may change frequently. Also, for reasons of national security, a service member may not be allowed to disclose where that person is working. That often happens when a service member is deployed into the war zone.

However, for a custodial parent, it is important to know the whereabouts of the service member, if the individual is a non-custodial parent. The child support program of Tennessee can locate the parent but is not allowed to share the information directly with the custodial parent. The Federal Parent Locator Service can help track the military service member. The FPLS gets the information from the Defense Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration.

Tennessee, like other states, also has the State Parent Locator Service. Who is authorized to receive the information of the service member? The agent or state authority who needs to enforce child custody or a visitation plan. The court or the court agent also has the authority to enforce a visitation arrangement or a child custody plan.

However, the child’s parent is not authorized to know the location of the service member, even if the individual is a non-custodial parent. The military branch often deploys the locator service in order to know about the location of the military parent. Some locator services are free of charge while others may charge a small amount of money.

Source:, “A Handbook for Military Families,” Accessed on July 14, 2015


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