Military Parent Custody and Visitation

9/6/2018

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. Nearly every state has as provision addressing custody and visitation of deployed parents.

So far, 10 states have enacted the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act while several other states have introduced and/or enacted similar legislation supporting deployed parents and their families.

The majority of states have some statutory provision addressing the custody and visitation rights of military parents. Each year several states introduce legislation to enact the UDPCVA or other similar legislation. This legislation is tracked in NCSL's Child Support and Family Law Legislation Database under the "Custody and Visitation - Military Parents" topic.

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.

military parent custody map

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.

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 UDPCVA: Ark. Stat. Ann. §9-21-101 et.seq.
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 D.C. Code Ann. § 16-914.02
Florida UDPCVA: Fla. Stat. § 61.703 et.seq.
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
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 UDPCVA: Iowa Code § 598C.101 et.seq.
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  
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 722.27
Minnesota UDPCVA: Minn. Stat. Ann. § 518E.101
Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. § 93-5-34
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.413
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 40-4-212, 216, 219, 228, 234
Nebraska UDPCVA: Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-4601 et.seq. (2015 LB 219)
Nevada UDPCVA: Nev. Rev. Stat. §125C.0601 et. seq.
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 458-E-1 et. seq.
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. § 9:2-12.1
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 40-10D-1 et.seq.
New York N.Y. Dom. Rel. §75-L; N.Y. Dom. Rel. §240(a-2)
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 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

UDPCVA: S.C. Code Ann. § 63-15-500 et.seq.

Other related statutes: S.C. Code Ann. § 63-5-920 through § 63-5-940

South Dakota UDPCVA: S.D. Codified Laws § 25-4B-101 et.seq.
Tennessee UDPCVA: Tenn. Code § 36-7-101 et.seq.
Texas Tex. Family Code Ann. § 156.105; Tex. Family Code Ann. § 153.701 et. seq.
Utah UDPCVA: Utah Code § 78B-20-101 et.seq.
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 15 § 11-681 et. seq.
Virginia Va. Code § 20-124.7 et. seq.
Washington Wash. Rev. Code § 26.09.260
West Virginia UDPCVA: W. Va. Code § 48-31-101 et.seq. (2017 HB 2479)
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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