In a previous post, we discussed how life in the military, while rewarding, can nevertheless prove difficult for many single or divorced parents, as they must attempt to balance their important job duties with their role as a parent. Indeed, we discussed how this was especially true for those custodial parents who must sometimes be deployed for considerable stretches.
We also started discussing how in the interests of promoting “a just balance of interests — protecting the rights of the service member, the other parent, and above all the best interest of the children involved,” the Uniform Law Commission devised the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act in 2012, legislation that has now been adopted by 10 states, including Arkansas.
In today’s post, we’ll examine four of the five articles of which the UDPCVA is comprised:
- Article 1: Includes a stipulation calling for military parents to initiate custody and visitation discussions as soon as possible after learning of an impending deployment. It also sets forth that the residence of the parent does not change with deployment (integrating with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act), and that a court may not use past deployment or potential deployment as a negative factor in custody determinations.
- Article 2: Establishes a straightforward out-of-court procedure for those parents who are able to come to a mutually acceptable agreement on custody of the child during deployment.
- Article 3: Provides for an expedited courtroom resolution in the event parents are unable to reach a mutually acceptable custody agreement on custody during deployment, and prohibits any permanent custody order from being entered before or during deployment absent the consent of the military parent.
- Article 4: Sets forth the procedures to be used when the military parent returns from deployment and seeks termination of the temporary custody arrangement. This includes those situations where both parents agree to the termination and those situations where court intervention will prove necessary given the absence of an agreement.
What all of this serves to underscore is that military divorce — particularly as it relates to child custody and visitation matters — can prove to be very complicated. As such, those dealing with these matters should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.