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Some child custody disputes determined by military duty

Some parents in Louisiana are not just parents and husbands or wives, they are also members of the armed forces and because of this, they may be discriminated against during a divorce proceeding. That may be shocking to some but this does occur in military divorce cases, depending on the jurisdiction. Due to this, a group of legal experts have come up with the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.

This law, crafted by the Uniform Law Commission, hopes to give active military members a level playing field during child custody disputes. Currently, some judges may see a long-term absence caused by a deployment or other military duty as detrimental to a child's well-being, which has led to custody being awarded to the civilian parent in many cases.

Seeing this happen to members of the armed services time and time again, experts began to wonder why it was allowed. Many asked why people who put their lives on the line for their country should find this dedication getting in the way of maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship. In addition to the Uniform Law Commission's recommendation, a bill is already making its way through the federal legislature.

This bill, known as the Servicemembers Family Protection Act, would amend the preexisting Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to include family-related protections. Support from the House's Armed Service Committee is apparent but previous attempts to pass similar legislation have failed in years past.

By creating a law that would give uniform regulations, the many jurisdictions that behave differently toward this parental situation would be required to act in a uniform manner. Judges in those jurisdictions would not be allowed to use military duties as a factor in determining the best custody situation.

Though experts agree that something needs to be implemented here, an agreement has not yet been reached, as evidenced by the failed attempts at amending the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Source: U.S. Politics Today, "Simplification Needed for Military Members Facing Custody Disputes," Sept. 26, 2012

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