Temporary Custody and Visitation Modification for Armed Forces Deployment

military, deployment, Aurora family lawyerMilitary families are often asked to make tremendous sacrifices in order to provide the armed services with manpower necessary to protect the United States of America. Under the best of circumstances, a lengthy deployment or training exercise can have a dramatic impact on the stability of an affected family. Of course, for separated or divorced parents who serve, the effect can be even more severe, as an order for child custody—soon to be called allocated parental responsibilities—cannot possibly take into account the unpredictability of a deployment situation. Fortunately, the law in Illinois provides a measure of relief for military parents which can help them fulfill their duties without the risk of legal action for non-compliance with a family court order.

Helping Military Parents

In most family-related cases, temporary orders are only used until a permanent order can be negotiated or entered by the court. This is not uncommon, for example, between the filing of a petition for divorce and the entry of the divorce judgment, which may not occur for several months. Temporary orders can be used to create custody and visitation arrangements, as well as interim arrangements for spousal maintenance or child support. Once the permanent order has been entered, however, only court-approved modifications can change it, and such modifications are permanent as well.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, however, currently provides a single exception. The court may approve a temporary modification of a custody or visitation order to make reasonable accommodations related to the deployment of the child’s parent. The terms of a temporary modification may include parenting time during the parent’s leave during deployment, visitation through electronic means, and court’s ability to re-modify the order upon the termination of the deployment.

Possible Changes for 2016

As part of the major family law overhaul passed earlier this year, some of the language in the law regarding temporary modifications for deployments has been eliminated. It remains to be seen, however, if the changes will have a significant effect on military families, or if the other provisions regarding parental responsibilities will be flexible enough for most deployment situations. Whatever the case may be, it is not the intention of the new law to punish servicemen and women for failing to comply with custody or visitation orders solely as a result of their military responsibilities.

If you are currently serving in the United States armed forces and have questions about any aspect of family law, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we are proud to support our men and women in uniform, and we thank you for your service. It would be our privilege to help you with any child-related concern you may have related to a deployment, and we will work with you throughout every step of the process. Call [[phone]] for your free consultation today.





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