Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation
What is the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act?
The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) provides a framework for temporarily allocating a deploying parent’s custodial responsibility during his or her deployment.
What is custodial responsibility?
“Custodial responsibility” is the duty and authority to take care of and make decisions for a child. Under the UDPCVA, “‘[c]ustodial responsibility’ includes physical custody, legal custody, parenting time, right to access, visitation, and authority to grant limited contact with a child.”
What do I do when I find out that I am going to be deployed?
A parent that receives notice that he or she will be deployed must within seven days after receiving such notice, notify the other parent of his or her deployment in writing or electronically. If the deploying parent is unable to give notice to the other parent within seven days, he or she must do so as soon as possible. Once the other parent is notified of the deployment, both parents must provide the other with a plan for how they expect the deployed parent’s share of parental responsibilities to be fulfilled during the deployment. The plan provides a basis for an agreement. If parties are unable to allocate custodial responsibility through an agreement, the court may grant an order allocating custodial responsibility.
What do I do if I want to make an agreement allocating parental responsibility during my deployment?
The deploying parent and the other parent may enter into a temporary agreement allocating custodial responsibility while the deploying parent is deployed. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parents as well as any other non-parent to whom the agreement allocates custodial responsibility. The agreement must specify:
The terms of the deployment The allocation of caretaking authority The allocation of decision-making authority Any grant of limited contact to a non-parent If custodial responsibility is shared between a parent and non-parent, a process for resolving disputes Frequency, duration, and means by which the child will have contact with the deployed parent, as well as the other parent’s role in facilitating contact and cost of such contacts Contact between the deploying parent and child when the deploying parent is on leave or available That the agreement does not modify child support obligations That the agreement will terminate when the deployed parent returns from his or her deployment Which parent must file the agreement
The agreement addressing custodial responsibility during deployment is temporary and terminates upon the return of the deploying parent or upon earlier termination by the court.
Can I modify the custodial responsibility agreement?
Yes. Both parents must agree to modify the custodial responsibility agreement. If the agreement is modified before the parent is deployed, the modification must be in writing and signed by both parents, as well as any non-parent granted custodial responsibility under the agreement. If the agreement is modified while the parent is deployed, the modification must be agreed upon electronically, or by some other documentable means, by both parents and any non-parent granted custodial responsibility under the agreement.
Can I use power of attorney to allocate my custodial responsibility?
Yes. The deploying parent may give his or her custodial responsibility to a non-parent during his or her deployment by way of power of attorney if the other parent does not possess custodial responsibility or if the court prohibits contact between the child and the other parent.
What if the other parent and I cannot reach an agreement?
If the deploying parent and other parent are unable to reach an agreement, the court may issue an order granting temporary custodial responsibility. Before the court can issue a temporary order, it must give the deploying parent notice. After the deploying parent receives notice of his or her deployment, either parent may motion for a proceeding regarding the custodial responsibility of the child during the deploying parent’s deployment. If the motion regarding custodial responsibility is filed before the deployment, the court must conduct a hearing as soon as possible. If the deploying parent is deployed or unavailable, the deploying parent may provide testimony by electronic means. The authority created by these custody orders are temporary and terminate upon the return of the deploying parent or upon earlier termination by the court.
What if there is already an agreement or judicial order regarding custodial responsibility during my deployment?
A prior judicial order or agreement regarding custodial responsibility during deployment is binding unless the court finds that circumstances justify the modification of an order or that the agreement is not in the child’s best interest.
What if I want to give my caretaking authority to a non-parent?
The court may grant a deploying parent’s request to grant caretaking authority to a non-parent. Unless the grant of caretaking authority to the non-parent is agreed upon by both parents, the grant is limited to the amount of time the deploying parent was granted under the permanent custody order or, if there is not a permanent custody order, the amount of time the deploying parent cared for the child before the deployment.
What if I want to give my decision-making authority to a non-parent?
If the deploying parent is unable to exercise decision-making authority over the child while deployed, the court may grant the deploying parent’s decision-making authority to a non-parent. Upon such an order, the court will specify which decision-making powers are to be granted to the non-parent.
Who may I give my authority to?
A non-parent may be granted authority if he or she is either an adult family member or someone with whom the child shares a close relationship with. In addition, the court must find:
That the non-parent is not a sex offender That the non-parent does not have a history of domestic abuse That the non-parent does not have a history of child or dependent adult abuse That the non-parent will provide the child with an opportunity to maintain the relationship That the non-parent will be able to personally and financially support the child and the child’s relationship with the child’s parents.
What if I don’t want to give a non-parent authority, but want them to be in contact with my child?
Upon the deploying parent’s motion, the court may grant a non-parent family member or person with an otherwise close relationship with the child limited contact with the child.
What will the temporary custody order look like?
The temporary custody order will be designated as temporary and discuss the terms of the parent’s deployment the order must specify, as necessary:
The allocation of caretaking and decision-making authority, and limited contact If caretaking or decision-making authority is divided unequally between individuals, a process for resolving disputes Liberal contact between the deploying parent and the child while the parent is deployed Liberal contact between the deploying parent and the child when the parent is on leave or available Contact between the deploying parent and child after the parent returns from deployment and until the order is terminated That the order will terminate upon the return of the deploying parent
Will an agreement or court order affect child support?
If an agreement or order grants caretaking authority, the court may enter a temporary order for child support.
Can I modify or terminate the custodial responsibility of a non-parent?
Yes. Upon the deploying parent or non-parent’s request, the court may modify or terminate a grant of caretaking or decision-making authority.
How do I terminate a custodial responsibility agreement?
An agreement granting custodial custody during deployment may be terminated by a signed agreement by the deploying parent and other parent terminating the custodial arrangement. The custodial responsibility agreement also terminates on the date specified in the agreement or, if no date is specified, the date of the last signature. If an agreement was not made to terminate the custodial responsibility agreement, the agreement terminates 60 days after the other parent notifies the other parent, electronically or in writing, that the deployment has ended. If the custodial agreement was filed with the court, the agreement to terminate it must also be filed with the court.
How do I terminate a custodial responsibility court order?
After the deploying parent has returned, the deploying parent and other parent may file an agreement with the court to terminate the temporary custodial responsibility order. The court will terminate the temporary order on the date specified in the termination agreement. If the date is not specified in the termination agreement, the order is terminated immediately.
Will the court grant me visitation before the agreement terminates?
Yes. The court may grant the deploying parent visitation with the child from the time the deploying parent returns from deployment to the time the temporary custodial responsibility agreement terminates.
What happens if I do not ask the court to terminate the custodial responsibility court order?
If the parties do not file an agreement to terminate the temporary custodial responsibility order, the order terminates 60 days after the deploying parent notifies the other parent and/or non-parent, electronically or in writing, that he or she has returned from deployment.