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What is the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act?

With active deployment and regular relocations an inevitability in the military, life is difficult for Tennessee military personnel and their spouses. As a result, many marriages end in divorce. One major concern is child custody. Many child custody disputes involving military personnel are heard in family courts around Tennessee and the rest of the country.

While some states have ordinances to protect military personnel's rights in child custody disputes, there was a clear lack of uniformity in the system. In order to address the inconsistencies, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws put forth the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, or UDPCVA, to address the numerous issues that military personnel face in child custody and visitation plans. In 2014, Tennessee legislation considered and enacted House Bill 2314. The UDPCVA plans to address the issues through its five articles:

  • The first article provides definitions and general provisions of the act. It also reiterates the importance of military personnel to inform his or her spouse of active deployment within the shortest possible time. The first article also bars courts from considering past or future deployment of a service member while determining the best interests of a child.
  • The second article of the UDPCVA details the procedure that parents must follow to reach an out-of-court settlement pertaining to child custody and visitation during active deployment.
  • The third article prohibits the court from awarding permanent child custody without a deployed parent's consent. At the same time, it also allows for expedited proceedings for those military personnel and their wives who are unwilling to enter a child custody arrangement prior to deployment.
  • The fourth article of the UDPCVA explains the procedure for terminating temporary child custody arrangements if the spouses consent to it. In cases where the parents do not agree, the article also establishes the courts role in resolving the dispute.
  • Finally, the fifth article of the act mentions the effective date and the uniform language.

Clarksville, Tennessee, is home to many military families, and like civilian families, these military personnel and their spouses and children face familial issues that can sometimes lead to divorce. In matters pertaining to military divorce and other related issues, professional guidance can help protect a service member's and his or her family's rights. Valuable information is key.

Source: NCSL.org, "Military Parent Custody and Visitation," accessed on Aug. 17, 2014

Source: NCSL.org, "Military Parent Custody and Visitation," accessed on Aug. 17, 2014

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