Active military members could delegate custody or visitation

Service members could delegate their parental visitation or guardianship rights if called to active duty under a proposed amendment of the Child Custody Act.

The House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony tomorrow on House Bill 5163.

In addition to the delegation provision, the bill directs that a service member’s temporary absence due to military obligations cannot be considered as a factor in a court’s decision to grant or deny  custody and visitation petitions or to change existing custody or visitation arrangements.

The bill also includes provisions for electronic participation in hearings when necessary:

Upon a motion by a parent who has been called to active military duty, provided that reasonable advance notice is given and good cause is shown, the court shall allow that parent to present testimony and evidence by electronic means with respect to matters being decided under this section when the parent’s deployment has a material effect on his or her ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing. As used in this subsection, “electronic means” includes communication by telephone or video conference.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Kurt Damrow (R – Elkton).

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