Child custody proceedings are part of any divorce with children involved. The majority of states in the US have addressed the child custody and visitation rights of military parents through the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA). Alaska, however, is one of the states that has its own legislation, and it is important for parents to understand how it differs from the broad legislature of the UDPCVA.
The basics of the UDPCVA
Parents who have moved to Alaska from another state may still only be familiar with the UDPCVA. The National Conference of State Legislatures outlines the effects of this legislation.
This act has an established procedure for when the court must intervene in case when parents do not agree on child custody. In case one parent is deploying soon, the act allows custody proceedings to be expedited before the date of deployment. While there is a provision that allows agreements to be made out-of court during deployment, it is also stipulated that the deploying parent must inform the other parent as soon as possible.
How the law is different in Alaska
Custody in Alaska is determined based on some specific factors according to the Alaska State Legislature. These include any things that make one or the other parent unfit for custody, such as substance abuse or domestic violence, as well as the child’s relationship with one or the other parent, the child’s preferences and the child’s needs.
Regarding deployed parents, the only specific applicable part of Alaska’s legislature is that in instances of domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent, a deployed parent’s visitation rights may not be delegated to the other parent. For all other matters, custody disputes defer to the standard laws of the state.