Legal Panel Looks to Simplify Child Custody Law for Military Veterans
Published on 08/06/2012 -
By John Clark
A national panel of legal experts is working to build a body of standardized state laws in order to simplify child custody rules for members of the military, who are often at a disadvantage when they go through marital troubles.
Military members move around so often that their divorce proceedings can be painfully complicated and a national panel is trying to resolve this, according to a report from USA Today.
The group tracking the issue is called the Uniform Law Commission, a group of roughly 350 attorneys appointed by every state, and the task at hand is the creation of the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, sources say.
Military Members Face Inconsistent Child Custody Laws
Since divorce attorney is generally governed by state legislators, there can be vast discrepancies in how neighboring states treat child custody disputes.
This, obviously, can be a hassle for members of the military who effectively have no home state. In response to this challenge, the creators of the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act are trying to create a uniform set of rules aimed at standardizing the treatment of custody rights for parents who are on active military duty.
One of the most important issues for the panel to decide is how to determine the proper jurisdiction for a divorce case when a military member is assigned to a base in another state, or is assigned to a location overseas.
Another issue is whether a step-parent of a grandparent can have visitation rights when a military parent is deployed. Military members often like to send other relatives as a surrogate to check on the welfare of their children when they are overseas.
In addition, the panel will look to set a uniform system of rules that govern whether a temporary custody arrangement should still be in effect when a military parent returns from active duty.
And, according to sources, states are “all across the board on those issues,” which can create a significant amount of legal headaches and personal stress for military veterans.
Uniform Law Commission Sets Child Custody Rules
Sources say that the Uniform Law Commission has been creating uniform state laws for more than 100 years, so the panel carries a significant amount of respect in the legal community.
When it releases its final draft of the child custody rules, states are not obligated to adopt the rules, but sources expect most state legislators to be willing to adopt these narrow rules.
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