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Addressing child custody concerns during active deployment

A divorce involving children can be a complicated matter for couples in New Mexico. The matter could be further complicated if one parent is on active duty in the military during the process. A military divorce could present many challenges for the service member, his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse and children. However, a uniform act has been drafted to address this situation, helping to protect the rights of both parents and the children involved.

Determining child custody is often cited as a difficult decision to make in the divorce process, and reaching an agreement regarding child custody during active deployment is not an easy task for anyone involved in a military divorce. Because of this, the Uniform Law Commission created the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act in 2012.We briefly wrote about this act in a previous post, but here we'll break it down.

This Act is organized into five articles, each one addressing important concerns and issues often present in these matters. For example, both Articles 2 and 3 apply to custody issues that arise during deployment or when notice of deployment is issued. These articles set out the procedure for parents to address custody concerns such as developing a temporary custody arrangement while a parent is deployed.

Additionally, Article 3 provides for the expedited resolution for a custody arrangement ordered in court. Moreover, this article also provides that no permanent custody order can be entered into right before or during deployment unless the service member has issued his or her consent to the order.

Lastly, Article 4 of the Act governs the process to terminate the temporary custody arrangement entered into following the return of the service member from deployment. This process applies only to those parents that agreed to a temporary order for the duration of deployment. If parents are not able to reach an agreement regarding custody following the return of the service member parent, this article provides that the court will resolve this issue at their discretion.

A military divorce is often more complicated than a civilian divorce. If a service member's child custody rights are affected due to active deployment, he or she should understand how he or she can address this issue. This could help the service member make an informed and timely decision that focuses on the best interests of the children involved.

Source: Uniform Law Commission, "Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act Summary," accessed Aug. 3, 2015

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