Deployed parents could get a break in custody and visitation under proposed PA bill

05 June 2024- Earlier this week, House Bill 82, introduced by Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware/Chester), passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee. Known as the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, the bill will update and standardize the custody and visitation rights for deployed military parents, ensuring they are treated fairly in custody proceedings. It aligns Pennsylvania with 16 other states which have enacted similar measures.

As a retired Marine Corps Colonel and legislator, Williams has been a staunch advocate for the rights of military personnel, recognizing the unique challenges faced by service members and their families particularly on deployment.

“Military parents make countless sacrifices for our nation, and it is paramount that we safeguard their family rights, even when they are overseas protecting us,” said Rep. Williams. “The passage of House Bill 82 out of the Judiciary Committee is a significant step in extending legal clarity and fairness for our military families. This bill not only supports our service members but also serves the best interests of their children, ensuring the parent-child bond remains strong for parents away serving our country.”

House Bill 82 addresses the hardships deployed military parents encounter in custody and visitation matters by preventing permanent custody changes during deployment and ensuring deployment cannot be used against them in custody decisions. The bill also facilitates consistent contact between deployed parents and their children through modern communication means, such as video and phone calls.

This legislation has garnered widespread support, including endorsements from the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and the American Bar Association reflecting a broad consensus for these measures. The Uniform Law Commission has been a leader in standardizing this law across the states.

House Bill 82 moves to the full House for consideration.