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Child custody considerations for military parents

Taking a child custody issue through the courts is rarely an easy process. And for parents on active military service, custody and visitation can be especially challenging. It can sometimes feel as if military service puts a parent in an unfavorable position when it comes to getting custody, but both state and federal laws provide help for military parents.

What protections are available for military parents?

At the Federal level, the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act addresses child custody challenges faced by military service members. Among other things, the UDPCVA provides that being deployed does not change a military parent’s residence for the purposes of child custody. Moreover, their child’s home state does not change when a new parenting schedule is created during one parent’s deployment.

Ten states have adopted the UDPCVA as their state law on the subject, while others (including Alabama) have their own similar legislation.

State law protections in Alabama

Alabama’s child custody laws include protections for military parents as well. For example, a military deployment, whether in the past, present, or future, cannot be used as the sole factor for determining a child custody arrangement or modification. In short, someone’s military service cannot be held against them when they are seeking custody or visitation with their child.

In addition, Alabama law provides for a slightly different process when a parent is relocating. Someone who is entitled to custody of their child and who is on active military duty still provides notice of their relocation; however, they are not required to include a warning of the other parent’s right to object. 

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