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Military families, divorces in Virginia and the UDPCVA


Military divorces are common in Virginia and in other states across the country. The number of military divorces is rising; so are child custody issues among military members. Hence, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has come up with the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act that allows states to draft procedures when confronted with unique custody issues.

Overseas deployment has increased in recent years, leading to an increase in court cases involving child custody and visitation issues. The UDPCVA has five articles which address these specific issues. Article 1 states that the service member needs to notify the other parent as soon as orders are received to prohibit the court from considering future or past military deployment when deciding child custody issues.

Article 2 of the UDPCVA highlights the procedures parents must follow to make out-of-court settlements related to child custody after a military divorce. Article 3 provides the grounds to speed up child custody proceedings in cases where the parents do not agree on custody issues. It also does not allow a permanent child custody arrangement to be decided when the deployed parent is not present in court or without the expressed consent of the deployed military service member.

Article 4 highlights the procedure for terminating a temporary child custody arrangement when both parents agree on custody issues. Article 5 addresses the timetable for the Act's jurisdiction for deciding child custody. The Virginia Military Parents' Equal Protection Act ensures that child custody matters for Virginia residents are decided in the best interest of the child when military divorce issues are present.

Many service members are actively deployed, so addressing these matters effectively from another location is difficult. Considering such complications, military members or their spouses might need more information about their options in order to effectively address these particular family legal issues.

Source: NCSL.org, "Military Parent Custody and Visitation," Accessed on Jan.16, 2015

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