Military Deployment and Child Custody

Military deployment and child custody.Military deployment and/or relocation causes unique concerns over custody/visitation.  Family care plans are required by the military, but they are not binding under Virginia law as to what will/can happen.  You should incorporate your wishes in an order if possible.  For deployments, if the change of circumstance is not in an order, Virginia does have a statute that governs how temporary shifting of custody works in these military situations, the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act -

§ 20-124.9. When no order is in place; expedited hearing; conduct of hearing.

A. If no court order exists as to the custody, visitation, or support of a child of a deploying parent or guardian, any petition filed to establish custody, visitation, or support for a child of a deploying parent or guardian shall be so identified at the time of filing by the deploying parent or guardian to ensure that the deploying parent or guardian has access to the child, and that reasonable support and other orders are in place for the protection of the parent-child or guardian-child relationship, consistent with the other provisions of this chapter. Such petition shall be expedited on the court's docket in accordance with § 20-108.

B. In any proceeding under this chapter where a deploying parent or guardian is reasonably unable to appear as a result of his deployment, the court, upon motion of the deploying parent or guardian and for good cause shown, may conduct any hearing using a telephonic communication system or an electronic audio and video communication system to provide for the appearance of any parties and witnesses.

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC
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