Ohio courts make judgments regarding child custody in cases of divorce in one of two ways. They may require parents to share legal and physical custody of the children between the two, or they may specify one parent as the legal custodian and residential parent. However, military divorces often present a number of challenging legal and family issues that can complicate these judgments. Ohio service members facing child custody issues might therefore be interested to learn about a national legal panel working to simplify child custody laws for military service members.
The group is the Uniform Law Commission. It is an influential group of nearly 350 attorneys from all 50 states. The group's primary mission is to standardize state laws. The group's current focus is the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act. The Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act is a uniform law that state legislatures can adopt to streamline and standardize their child custody procedures for deployed parents.
According to the group, the majority of states have implemented laws to protect service members in custody cases, but the rules are not consistent. Among the many complicated issues state courts deal with include how to determine jurisdiction, whether a step-parent or grandparent should have visitation rights, and whether temporary custody arrangements should be made when a parent returns home from deployment.
The group has crafted uniform laws for nearly a century. Among the pieces of legislation developed by the group is the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This act is used in 49 states and has played a major role in setting uniform state standards for establishing jurisdiction and enforcing child support orders.
Next year the commission will then begin pushing state legislatures to adopt the proposals. If enacted by the states, military service members should be able to get more consistent treatment in child custody cases.
Source: Times Reporter, "US panel: Improve child custody rules for military," July 18, 2012