San Diego


1901 First Avenue, 2nd Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Los Angeles


355 South Grand Avenue, #2450
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act: Stepping towards a standardized family law for military families

Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act:  Stepping towards a standardized family law for military families

The custody aspect of divorce proceedings is rarely a simple matter.  In any circumstance, distance can be difficult for families, but when a parent is a military service member, in particular, the travel requirements of their occupation can quickly complicate child custody and visitation cases. 

Generally simple issues, such as each parent’s state of residence or which state law to apply, can quickly transform into complex legal questions of jurisdiction when one of the parents is in the military service and is subject to mobilizations, temporary duty, deployment and remote assignments.  To wit, the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) is intended to protect the parental rights of military service members (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) while they are abroad. 

Among those rights, the UDPCVA establishes that deployment does not change the residence of a service member and that courts cannot use past or future deployment alone to determine the best interests of a child.  The act sets a uniform standard for “military absence,” which provides that the mere absence of a military parent from a state will not be used to deprive that state of custody jurisdiction.   

In line with larger family law principles, the UDPCVA encourages parents to reach their own agreements and sets parameters for the form and execution of those agreements.  Under the act, a parent who is a military service member must give reasonable notice of their deployment.  Subsequent to proper notice, the UDPCVA encourages both parties to negotiate a written temporary order that will be signed by both parents, outlining the custody arrangement during deployment.  The agreement should be as detailed as possible and include allocation of care-taking authority and decision-making authority.  Under the UDPCVA, the agreement terminates either by agreement, upon return of the deployed service member parent, or by court order.

If parents cannot come to a mutual agreement, the UDPCVA contains provisions for the court to rule on custody issues prior to deployment via an expedited hearing, so that the matter can be settled before deployment.  In the event that the custody agreement or order requires modification during deployment, the UDPCVA provides that the courts can make decisions to grant temporary custody to a non-parent with a close and substantial relationship to the child.  Regardless, any custody order given by the court before or during deployment, however, is only temporary.  The UDPCVA disallows the courts from entering permanent custody orders without the consent of the service member parent to be deployed.

Even though the UDPCVA is not formal legislation, it does establish standardized guidelines that each state can adopt in full or in part, amending the portions of the uniform act that conflict with current state law.  So although the application of the UDPCVA will vary slightly from state to state, the uniform act provides an important source of basic legal rights to service members who are parents, while preserving the best interests of the children involved.

If you would like to learn about your parental rights as a service member, please contact Scales of Justice, LLC to set up a consultation.  The above information is not to be construed as legal advice but is solely for the purposes of general information.    

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


Ask Us a Question

  1. (required)
  2. (valid email required)
  3. NOTE: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. By clicking “Send” below I acknowledge, understand and agree to the following: I may receive a response to my inquiry from an attorney; I am not forming an attorney-client relationship with Scales of Justice, LLP (SoJ) and understand this law firm does not represent my legal interests; Scales of Justice, has no duty to keep confidential the information I am now sending to the law firm; and I may only retain this firm or any of its attorneys as my attorney by entering into a written fee agreement and I am not hereby entering into a fee agreement.

cforms contact form by delicious:days

Connect With Us

Scales of Justice, LLP on Twitter Scales of Justice, LLP on Facebook
AILA Member 2011
 Scales of Justice LLP BBB Business Review

Immigration Law (in California)
All the services relating to immigration and naturalization provided by the firm or corporation shall be provided by an active member of the State Bar or by a person under the supervision of an active member of the State Bar. Pablo Zamora is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. Pablo Zamora is not an attorney licensed to practice law in California but is an attorney licensed in another state or territory of the United States and is authorized by federal law to represent persons before the Immigration Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

*In compliance with CRPC 1-400, this website acts as an advertisement for Scales of Justice, LLP. Scales of Justice, LLP is the title of the law offices of Rebecca Ritchey, Esq. and Pablo Zamora, Esq. This website is a public resource of general information concerning Scales of Justice, LLP. It is intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete and up-to-date. Links on this website are not intended to be referrals to or endorsements of the linked entities. The attorneys at Scales of Justice, LLP are licensed to practice law in California and Washington D.C. Scales of Justice, LLP does not intend to represent anyone desiring representation in a state where this website fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.*

Safeguard Privacy Policy
Scales of Justice, LLP strives to protect any data collected against mishandling and fraud, collect personal information only as needed, and respect the preferences of customers regarding the use of their information. As an accredited business we agree to:

Respect Privacy. Any and all information supplied to us through this website is confidential. This information is not shared with any other individual, organization or entity. It is strictly used for responding back to questions submitted to us by individuals who contact us through the Scales of Justice, LLP Contact Us page.

Secure Sensitive Data. We do not collect sensitive data through this Contact Us page portion of our website (such as credit card, bank account numbers, social security numbers, medical history or records, etc.). Should any of that information be sent to us through the Scales of Justice, LLP website, we will ensure that it is transmitted via secure means and make efforts to comply with industry standards for the protection and proper disposal of all sensitive data, both online and offline.