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Panel Seeks To Standardize Child Custody Laws For Service Members

A panel of legal experts recently got together to determine if they can develop a uniform set of child custody laws for military members – members who often face legal difficulties when family custody disputes arise while they are deployed.

Different States, Different Child Custody Laws

Since the original Gulf War, many individual states enacted their own laws intended to protect the rights of deployed military members in cases involving child custody. Today, with the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these laws are again coming to the forefront of child custody disputes.

However, the problem is that not every state has enacted these types of laws, not to mention that the laws are not the same in every state – leading to inevitable disputes. Courts are often left with little guidance when making jurisdictional child custody determinations, for example, when a service member is assigned to a base in another state or when the member’s spouse moves to another state with the children while the member is deployed.

Uniform Law Commission

A group of 350 attorneys – known as the Uniform Law Commission – recently met to seek a remedy to the patchwork of laws throughout the country. Their goal is to create a uniform set of laws that states can enact.

Specifically, the panel sought final approval for their Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, which will bring continuity to military child custody laws throughout the nation – if enacted by the states.

Military members not only put their lives on the line for their country, but often must leave their family while completing their service. These new laws will make sure they have legal options if child custody disputes arise while they are deployed.

Source: The Record, “US panel: Improve child custody rules for military,” Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press, July 18, 2012