While military members have a duty to serve their country, they are also obligated to their families. Not only does deployment strain family relations, but it also result in child custody dispute. With the increase of deployment over the past decade, courts have been experiencing an increase in custody and visitation issues involving military parents.
When ordered to active duty, there is often insufficient time to address all child custody matters through standard family court proceedings, which means military parents are forced to take action immediately before being deployed. However, custody and visitation procedures from state-to-state are too meticulous and cumbersome to address the urgency of these military circumstances, resulting in negative outcomes for service members.
Fortunately, Tennessee enacted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) a few years back. This act addresses child custody issues related to military parents’ deployment.
To aid service members in making child custody arrangements, the uniform law includes, but not limited to, the following key provisions:
- Make decisions based on the best interests of the child during deployment
- Protect the rights of military parents who are serving the United States
- Protect the rights of the other parent
- Allow expedited co-parenting arrangements upon being notified for deployment
- Allow the state to continue exercising jurisdiction over custody and visitation matters despite the military member being absent from the state
- Allow for written temporary agreements between the parents which determine custodial obligations over the child during deployment
- Ensure permanent custody orders are not impacted by the necessity of temporary medication agreements between parents upon deployment notification
- Enable legal representation to delegate custodial responsibilities during deployment
- Arrange child care during deployment
- Allow smooth transaction back into the child’s life upon the service member’s return from deployment.
The UDPCVA is an important law in providing rights, as well as standard steps and procedures, for military parents to use when deployment occurs. It is a step to protect those who protect our freedoms.
If you are in the U.S. military and require legal assistance in Tennessee for a child custody dispute, contact our Clarksville family law attorneys at Patton | Pittman and request a free consultation today.