In July 2012, the Uniform Law Commission approved of the Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act, to address issues that arise when a family court matter involves a parent serving in the military. The Uniform Law Commission (ULC), established in 1892, is responsible for such Acts as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The ULC is also known as the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL).
The purpose of the uniform laws promulgated by the ULC is to provide clarity and consistency among state laws. Most aspects of family law are legislated at the state level, not the federal level. So the same issues may be addressed very differently in different states. When the ULC approves of an Act, the laws that comprise the Act must be ratified by the various state legislatures. As each state passes a set of uniform laws, there may be slight variation in each state’s adoption of the Act. But there is a high level of consistency, state by state, that could not be attained without the ULC’s Acts.
The Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) contains common-sense provisions to avoid penalizing a deployed parent while also giving proper regard for the rights of the non-deployed parent, in carrying out what is in the best interests of the child(ren) involved. The main provisions of the Act address the devising and implementation of a temporary co-parenting arrangement in light of a parent’s deployment, including how to address the deployed parent’s transition back home after the deployment ends.
The UDPCVA may or may not be ratified by all fifty states, as UIFSA was in a period of approximately two years after it was introduced. But we can anticipate adoption of the Act in many states in the coming months.