Virginia father in child custody battle due to deployment, p. 2

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Military Family Law on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

As we discussed last week involving a Virginia father's cross-jurisdictional custody case, the Uniform Law Commission has introduced a uniform set of codes called the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act that addresses just such cases. This legal code seeks to simplify jurisdictional issues in child custody cases involving military personnel. Instead of proposed federal legislation the ULC's recommended codes protect a state's rights to maintain their individual family law codes in most child custody cases. The federal legislation that has been introduced, and has passed the U.S. House of Representatives for the last seven years, continually stalls in the Senate.

Legal counsel for the ULC states that although there are similarities in the federal legislation and uniform codes presented by the commission, the federal legislation is vague and would create further complexities to an already complex cross-jurisdictional area of family law. The ULC argues that family law is and should remain a states right to regulate. And, as discussed in last week's post, with the ULC's uniform codes, states would have a clearer set of laws in which to consistently determine and enforce child custody and visitation issues across state lines.

The Uniform Law Commission, which has worked exclusively on state laws for over 100 years, introduced the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which is a standard used in 49 states to establish jurisdiction in child support orders between the states. The lawmaker who sponsored the federal legislation said that family courts are generally biased against the absent parent regardless of whether or not they are in the military.

Many times when one parent decides to leave one state to move to another it is a voluntary move. That is not the case in military deployments and thus our military members should not be punished by losing their parental rights just because they chose to serve their country. The ULC plans on lobbying state legislatures next year to adopt the recommended code.

Source: Associated Press, "US Panel: Improve child custody rules for military," Kristin M. Hall, July 18, 2012

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