Can a parent modify a custody order because of military service?
If one parent is deployed, a judge can temporarily modify (change) a custody or visitation order to account for the parent’s relocation or absence.1 In the temporary custody order, the judge should:
- Arrange for custody or reasonable visitation during the deployed parent’s leave period (if it's in the child’s best interest);
- Explain in the order that the temporary order will terminate (end) and the parents will go back to the terms of the original, permanent custody order within 10 days after the deployed parent notifies the court/ other parent that s/he can resume custody or visitation (unless the non-deployed parent can prove to the judge that the terms of the original, permanent order are no longer in the child's best interest. See more information at What if I feel it is unsafe to go back to the original custody order?
- Arrange for immediate notification by each parent of any change of address or contact information to the other parent and to the court (unless due to domestic violence, the abused parent’s address must be kept confidential – in that case, it would only be given to the court, not the other parent);
- Let another family member of the deployed parent use his/her visitation rights (called “delegation” of visitation) under an existing order, but only under certain circumstances. See Can a parent who is deployed give his/her visitation rights to a family member?
1 Alaska Statute § 25.20.110(e)