Did you know… that the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act provides specific rights to military parents being required to report unaccompanied by any family member? This important legislation permits such military parents to protect their custodial and visitation rights in certain key ways. Specifically:
* Military servicemembers being deployed may request entry of a temporary order specifying that it is being entered due to their deployment, and requiring the non-deploying parent or guardian to provide the court with 30 days advance written notice of any change of address or telephone number;
* The temporary order shall also provide that the non-deploying parent or guardian must reasonably accommodate the leave schedule of the deploying parent or guardian, must facilitate opportunities for telephonic and electronic mail contact between the deploying parent or guardian and the child during the deployment period, and the deploying parent or guardian must provide timely information regarding his or her leave schedule to the non-deploying parent or guardian;
* Military service members who have been awarded custody of a child may provide visitation rights to certain family members during their deployment;
* Military service members who have been awarded visitation rights may delegate their visitation rights to certain family members during their deployment;
* Family member visitation awarded in such a temporary order terminates by operation of law upon return of the service member, who must provide written notice of his or her return to the family member;
* Family member visitation may be revoked by the deploying parent or guardian at any time, and by the non-deploying parent or guardian upon a change of circumstances, by filing a motion to rescind the visitation;
* Upon his or her return from deployment, the service member seeking to amend or review the temporary order entered based upon his or her deployment must request a hearing on the court’s docket, which shall be set within thirty days of the filing of the request. At this hearing, the non-deploying parent or guardian bears the burden of showing that re-entry of the custody or visitation order that was in effect before entry of the temporary order entered due to the deployment is no longer in the child’s best interest.
* If there is no court order in place concerning the custody, visitation or support of a child of a deploying military service member, the Court shall expedite any petition filed to establish custody, visitation or support of a child of the deploying parent or guardian to preserve the deploying parent or guardian’s access to the child, assure that reasonable support is in place, and to provide that other orders are in place for the protection of the parent-child relationship. If the deploying parent or guardian is unable to appear in court as a result of his deployment, the Court (upon motion of the deploying parent or guardian) may conduct the hearing by telephone or other electronic means to provide for the appearance of parties and witnesses.
Military Service members and family members have special circumstances, and should seek counsel knowledgeable about the special laws in place for their protection!
An outstanding job on my case to have custody, visitation and support decided in my home state instead of Virginia after I separated from military service.- A.E.