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Proposed changes to child custody laws for military personnel

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There are many military installations in Maryland, and the state has a proud history of supporting the men and women serving in our country's armed forces. Andrews Air Force Base is famous for being the primary airport used by the President's airplane, Air Force One. And the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis produces some of the country's finest scholars and sailors. So many of our Maryland readers will be interested in a burgeoning issue among military personnel: the simplification of child custody laws.

A group of attorneys, members of the Uniform Law Commission, recently gave the thumbs up to a newly proposed law to be adopted by state legislatures. The law deals specifically with military personnel on deployment who have children and is primarily an effort to get the 50 states to fall into line with one other on the issue of custody rights for these men and women.

Currently the laws that address child custody disputes, parenting plans, visitation rights and custody modifications can vary among states. Although most states adhere to the "best interests of the child" standard in making rulings and decision in these family law issues, the many different variants on the issues between states can make a person's head spin. The newly proposed legislation seeks to take the best parts from the varying state statutes and put them forward as one solid statute to specifically address custody issues for deployed military personnel.

The adoption of a uniform statute by all the states can take time, and not all states end up complying. But if the Uniform Law Commission's efforts do start to bear fruit, it will be one less thing for our men and women in uniform to worry about.

Source: The Washington Post, "Legal group drafts law to make child custody rules work better for deployed military parents," July 18, 2012

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