Child custody laws for military service members need to be streamlined to protect deployed troops, according to a national legal panel that helps recommend changes in state laws.
The Associated Press reports the Uniform Law Commission is meeting today in Tennessee to approve what's called the Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, which is described this way on the ULC's website:
[A]n act that provides standards and procedures for resolving visitation and custody issues affecting military personnel and their families, which may include resolution of matters in intrastate, interstate, and international contexts.
Because different states have different laws, there's often confusion as to what state law applies when a service member is forced to move to a base in a different state from which his or her children live. Also at issue, according to the A.P.:
[W]hether a step-parent or grandparent can have visitation rights when a parent is deployed, and whether a temporary custody arrangement should be made permanent when a parent returns from deployment.
The decision the UFC comes to isn't legally binding, but rather a recommendation to streamline all state laws to make sure custody battles within military families don't fall into legal quagmires.