Under the new deployment act, “custodial responsibility” includes
all the powers and duties that are related to the caretaking and decision
making authority for a child. This includes physical custody,
legal custody, parental responsibility, parenting time, time-sharing, and visitation.
“Decision making authority” grants an individual the power
to make important decisions regarding a child. This authority extends
to decisions about a child’s education, religious upbringing, health
care, extracurricular activities, and travel.
Notice Requirements for Deploying Parents
“Deployment” refers to the movement or mobilization of a service
member for less than 18 months. A parent who will be deploying is required
to notify the other parent no later than 7 days from receiving their deployment
orders. There must also be a written proposal that explains how each parent
will fulfill their custodial responsibility during deployment. This proposal
should be completed within a reasonable period of time after the notice
of deployment has been received.
Notification of the deployed parent’s change of address will also
need to be provided to the other parent. They must also notify any court
that has issued a custody or support order for the child.
Courts cannot consider a parent’s past or future deployments when
making a ruling on the best interest of a child.
Temporary Custodial Responsibility
Temporary custody agreements have to be in writing and must be signed by
both parents, or by a nonparent who has been granted custodial responsibility
during the deployment. This type of agreement is only temporary, and is
no longer valid once the deploying parent returns.
If both parents consent, they can modify a temporary custody agreement.
If the agreement is modified before deployment, it must be signed by both
parents. If the agreement is modified during deployment, there must be
a record showing both parent’s approval for the changes.
A deploying parent can also grant all or partial custodial responsibility
to a nonparent through power of attorney. The agreement for power of attorney
has to be filed within a reasonable amount of time with the court that
issued orders pertaining to the child.
Either parent can file a motion for custodial responsibility during a parent’s
deployment. A deployed servicemember who can’t appear in person
can use telephone, electronic, or online methods to make their appearance
for custody proceedings.
Granting Temporary Caretaking Authority to a Nonparent
If it is in the best interest of the child, and the deploying parent has
made a motion, a court can grant temporary caretaking powers to an adult
who is related to the child or who has a close relationship with the child.
This can also be set into motion if the constraints of the deployed parent’s
operation prevents them from exercising their decision making authority.
This act does not impact the validity of temporary agreements or court
orders regarding custodial responsibilities during deployment that were
entered into before July 1, 2018.
Do you have questions about how the new deployment act will affect your
custody agreement? Contact our Jacksonville team of family law attorneys
to schedule a free consultation today.