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Military Parent Custody and Visitation

Military Parent Custody and Visitation

3/3/2014

Over the last decade, legislation addressing issues facing military parents has become a national trend. With the number of custody and visitation issues among military families growing, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) to allow states to adopt a procedure for courts to use when faced with this unique situation. During the 2013 legislative session, eight states enacted nine bills addressing deployed parent custody and visitation. Of those eight states, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, and North Dakota became the first in the nation to adopt the UDPCVA. For more information about this legislation passed during the 2013 legislative session, visit the Child Support Project's 2013 Military Parent Custody and Visitation Legislation page.

Already during the 2014 legislative session, four states—Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah—and the District of Columbia have introduced bills to adopt the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA). In addition to those states seeking to adopt the UDPCVA, six other states have 16 pending bills for consideration during the 2014 legislative session that address some aspect of military parent custody and visitation.

Below is a map illustrating the states that have legislation, a description of the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act, and a 50-state survey of how states currently address the issue.

Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act1

Currently, the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is the only federal statute designed to protect single-parent service members.

With the increase of deployment over the past decade, courts have been seeing an increase in custody and visitation issues involving military parents. While some states have statutes or rules dealing with deployed parent custody and visitation issues, there remain some gaps in protections for military parents involved in custody or visitation proceedings. As a result, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws drafted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA).

The UDPCVA is made up of five articles that each address the varying issues affecting deployed parents in custody and visitation proceedings.

  • Article 1 details definitions and general provisions, requires the deploying parent to notify the other parent of the deployment as soon as possible, and prohibits the court from considering past or future deployment when making a best interest of the child determination in custody proceedings.
  • Article 2 sets the procedure for parents to make out-of-court agreements as to custody and visitation during deployment.
  • Article 3 allows for expedited proceedings for parents who do not agree to ensure that a custody order is entered prior to deployment, and prohibits a permanent custody arrangement to be ordered without the deployed parent's consent.
  • Article 4 establishes the procedure used to terminate the temporary custody arrangement when the parties agree, and when the parties do not agree and the court must intervene.
  • Article 5 sets out the technical effective date and uniform act language.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, only four states—Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and North Dakota—have adopted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act. At the start of the 2014 legislative session, three more states—Mississippi, South Dakota and Tennessee—and the District of Columbia have introduced legislation to adopt the UDPCVA.

50-State Statutes

State Statutory Citation
Alabama Ala. Code § 30-3-165
Alaska Alaska Stat. § 25.20.095
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §25-411
Arkansas Ark. Stat. Ann. § 9-13-110
California Cal. Fam. Code § 3047
Colorado UDPCVA: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-13.7-101 et. seq.
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-56e
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 13, § 727(d)
District of Columbia Proposed 2014 UDPCVA: DC B 216; D.C. Code Ann. § 16-914.02
Florida Fla. Stat. § 61.13002
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 19-9-1; Ga. Code Ann. § 19-9-3
Hawaii Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 31-571-91 et. seq.
Idaho Idaho Code § 32-720; Idaho Code §32-717; Idaho Code §15-5-104
Illinois Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 5/606; Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 5/607(h); Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750 § 5/610; Proposed Legislation 2014: HB 1452
Indiana Ind. Code § 31-14-13-6.1 through § 31-14-13-6.3; Ind. Code §31-17-2-21.1 through § 31-17-2-21.3
Iowa Iowa Code § 598.41C; Iowa Code § 598.41D
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 23-3217
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. § 403.340; Ky. Rev. Stat. § 403.320
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:348; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:359 et. seq.
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 37-B, § 373; Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 18-A, §5-104
Maryland Md. Family Law Code Ann. § 9-108
Massachusetts Proposed legislation in 2013-2014: HB 1358, HB 1522, HB 1581, HB 1745
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 722.27
Minnesota None
Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-34; Introduced UDPCVA 2014 (failed)
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.413
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 40-4-212, 216, 219, 228, 234
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2929; Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2929.01; Proposed Legislation 2014: LB 769 (failed)
Nevada UDPCVA: Nev. Rev. Stat. §125C.0601 et. seq.
New Hampshire Military Parents' Rights Act: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 458-E-1 et. seq.
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. § 9:2-12.1; Proposed Legislation in 2014: AB 1917
New Mexico Enacted 2014 UDPCVA: SB 130
New York N.Y. Dom. Rel. §75-L; N.Y. Dom. Rel. §240(a-2); Proposed Legislation 2013-2014: AB 325, AB 5083, AB 5391, AB 6035, SB 1693, SB 3507, SB 4518,
North Carolina UDPCVA: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50-13.2
North Dakota UDPCVA: N.D. Cent. Code § 14-09.3-01 et. seq.
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3109.04(I)
Oklahoma Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act: Okla. Stat. tit. 43, §§ 150-150.10; Okla. Stat. tit. 43, § 112(5), 112.7
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. § 107.145; Or. Rev. Stat. § 107.169
Pennsylvania Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 51, § 4109
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws § 15-5-16
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-920 through § 63-5-940
South Dakota Enacted 2014 UDPCVA: HB 1165
Tennessee Enacted 2014 UDPCVA: HB 2314 (Enacted)
Texas Tex. Family Code Ann. § 156.105; Tex. Family Code Ann. § 153.701 et. seq.
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 30-3-40;
Vermont Military Parents' Rights Act: Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15 § 11-681 et. seq.
Virginia Virginia Military Parents' Equal Protection Act: Va. Code § 20-124.7 et. seq.
Washington Wash. Rev. Code § 26.09.260
West Virginia W. Va. Code § 48-9-404
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 767.41; Wis. Stat. § 767.451(3m)
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 20-2-205

[1] Uniform Law Commission, "Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act Summary," National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, 2014

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NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Joy Johnson Wilson (joy.wilson@ncsl.org) and Rachel Morgan (rachel.morgan@ncsl.org) can be reached at (202) 624-5400.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

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