New Deployment Act For Parental Timesharing Goes into Effect July 1st

New Deployment Act For Parental Timesharing Goes into Effect July 1st

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 This type of agreement is only temporary, and is no longer valid once the deploying parent returns.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 initial consultation today.


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