Panel: Simplify child custody rules for military members

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A national legal panel working to standardize state laws has said it’s time simplify child custody rules for members of the U.S. military.

Military members are often subject to frequent deployments, sometimes leaving them without clear legal options when divorce and child custody disputes arise.

The Uniform Law Commission, a 120-year-old nonpartisan group of 350 attorneys appointed by the states, recently gave its approval to the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act. The act is a set of uniform codes for states to adopt to standardize custody rights for members of the military.

The legal counsel for the Commission says the states’ patchwork of custody laws isn’t consistent.

Courts have in some cases labored to decide who has jurisdiction when a soldier, sailor or Marine is stationed at a base in another state. Courts also struggle with whether or not a stepparent or a grandparent can have visitation rights when a parent is stationed elsewhere and whether temporary custody measures should become permanent when a parent comes back from deployment.

“States are all across the board on those issues, so the impetus for the uniform act was to provide states with a well-conceived piece of legislation that takes the best practices from all the states that we have seen and give them some guidance,” the legal counsel said.

One sailor quoted in an article about child custody disputes he’s been involved in with his spouse said, “It seems like every time I go to court, I get beat up because I am in the military.”

He says his wife left him while he was deployed and took their seven-month-old daughter with her to another state.

He continues to try to get custody of the girl, now five years old.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “US panel: Improve child custody rules for military,” July 18, 2012

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