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Home > Forums > Family Law Task Force > Family legislation, rules, and regulations > Proposed Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act
Proposed Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act
Posted on: 06/07/2012
This is the proposed Uniformed Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act. It has not been approved by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws; it’s just a proposal.
If y’all have time to look at it, I’d be interested in feedback. There are things about it that concern me and I’d like to hear from everyone else.
From the Prefatory Note:
The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) addresses issues of child custody and visitation that arise when parents are deployed in military or other national service. Deployment in national service raises custody issues that are not adequately dealt with in the law of most states. In many instances, notice of deployment will be sudden, making it difficult to resolve custody issues before the deployment by ordinary child custody procedures. Furthermore, the overseas deployment of a parent raises special difficulties in ensuring that the parent-child bond remains intact during the parent’s absence. In addition, the return from deployment raises questions regarding how and when the temporary custody situation should be ended and the permanent custody situation resumed. At all these stages, there is the need to ensure that parents who serve their country are not penalized for their service, while still giving adequate weight to the interests of the other parent, and, most importantly, the best interest of the child.
The issues surrounding child custody of service members are complicated by variance among the law of different states. Issues of child custody and visitation are the province of state law. Because of the mobile nature of military service, and because a child’s other parent will often live in or move to a different state than the deployed service member, bringing the child with them, there are many times that custody issues relating to the child of a service member will involve two or more states. Currently, however, there are large differences among states in the law applied to custody issues that arise on the deployment of a parent. A number of states have adopted statutes that specifically address the custody issues that service members face, but these statutes vary widely among states in a number of respects. For example, the service members who are eligible for their protections differ considerably among states. Further, some of these statutes allow the service member to delegate custody to a person besides the child’s other parent without a court order; others do not. Some provide for expedited court procedures before deployment; others do not. Some allow for automatic reversion to the permanent custody order on the service member’s return from deployment; others do not. Other states have adopted no laws that specifically apply to custody issues relating to service members. These states differ with one another on how they treat custody issues on deployment, and, in addition, often apply very different laws to this situation than are applied in states that have adopted statutes. A uniform approach to these issues would greatly increase predictability and certainty for the families affected, and would increase fairness by ensuring that the same standards apply no matter where the parents lived or a family happened to be posted before deployment.
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