CSHB 334(JUD): "An Act establishing child custody, modification, and visitation standards for a military parent; and amending Rule 99, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."
00 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 334(JUD) 01 "An Act establishing child custody, modification, and visitation standards for a military 02 parent; and amending Rule 99, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure." 03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 * Section 1. AS 25.20 is amended by adding a new section to read: 05 Sec. 25.20.095. Custody and visitation proceedings involving a military 06 parent. (a) In determining the availability of a parent for custody or visitation, if a 07 parent is deployed or in a position where the parent may be deployed, the court shall 08 take particular care to ensure that the child has the maximum opportunity, consistent 09 with the best interests of the child, to have contact with the parent. Except as provided 10 in this section, a parent's temporary duty, mobilization, or deployment to military 11 service and the resultant temporary disruption to the child of the parent may not be a 12 factor in a court's decision to grant or deny a petition for custody or visitation. 13 (b) A parent who is deployed may petition a court of competent jurisdiction 14 for custody or visitation. The petition shall be construed to be an application for
01 affirmative relief, consistent with the protections afforded under 50 U.S.C. App. 501 - 02 596 (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) and may include a request to delegate the 03 deployed parent's visitation rights to a family member. 04 (c) A court shall order a delegation of visitation rights based on a petition filed 05 under (b) of this section if the court finds that 06 (1) the family member receiving the delegation has an existing close 07 relationship to the child; and 08 (2) the delegation is in the child's best interest. 09 (d) A hearing on a petition filed under this section shall be expedited by the 10 court on a motion filed by the deployed parent and subject to an additional 10 days' 11 notice. 12 (e) A parent who is deployed may not be presumed to have waived any rights 13 or protections with regard to custody or visitation of the deployed parent's child unless 14 the deployed parent expressly waives the right or protection in writing or on the 15 record. 16 (f) A court order entered under this section must require that 17 (1) the nondeployed parent make the child reasonably available for 18 visitation to the deployed parent when the deployed parent is on leave if the visits are 19 in the child's best interest; 20 (2) each parent facilitate contact, including telephonic and electronic 21 contact, between the other parent and the child if the contact is in the child's best 22 interest; electronic contact with a video image must be facilitated whenever feasible; 23 (3) the deployed parent provide timely information to the nondeployed 24 parent regarding the deployed parent's leave schedule; and 25 (4) each parent provide immediate notification of a change of address 26 or contact information as provided under AS 25.20.110(e)(5). 27 (g) In making a determination of the best interests of the child, the court shall 28 consider (1) the factors under AS 25.24.150(c) and apply the rebuttable presumption 29 under AS 25.24.150(g) to visitation, delegation, and custody orders issued under this 30 section, and (2) any history of violent behavior exhibited by a parent. In addition, there 31 is a rebuttable presumption that a deployed parent's visitation rights may not be
01 delegated to a family member who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence 02 against a spouse, a child, or a domestic living partner, or to a family member with an 03 individual in the family member's household who has a history of perpetrating 04 violence. The court shall make specific written findings regarding the considerations 05 required to be considered in (1) and (2) of this subsection. In this subsection, "history 06 of violent behavior" does not include any behavior or actions performed or undertaken 07 in connection with military duties. 08 (h) In this section, 09 (1) "deployment" or "deployed" means military services performed in 10 compliance with a valid order received by an active duty or reserve member of the 11 armed services of the United States, National Guard, or United States Coast Guard to 12 report for combat operations, contingency operations, peacekeeping operations, 13 temporary duty, a remote tour of duty, or other active service for which the deploying 14 parent reports unaccompanied by any family member; 15 (2) "family member" means a person who is an adult sibling, aunt, 16 uncle, first cousin, or grandparent related by blood, adoption, or marriage or a 17 stepparent to the child who is the subject of a custody order issued under this section; 18 (3) "military service" includes the period from which the deployed 19 parent receives and is subject to deployment orders and the period in which the parent 20 is awaiting travel or remains deployed because of sickness, wounds, leave, or other 21 lawful cause; 22 (4) "parent" includes a legal guardian of the child. 23 * Sec. 2. AS 25.20.110 is amended by adding new subsections to read: 24 (d) Except as provided in (e) - (h) of this section, a parent's temporary duty, 25 mobilization, or deployment to military service and the resultant temporary disruption 26 to the schedule of a child of the parent may not be a factor in finding a change of 27 circumstances on a motion to modify child custody or visitation. 28 (e) A court may provide for a temporary modification of a custody or 29 visitation order during the period of a parent's deployment to military service to make 30 reasonable accommodation for the deployment. The temporary order must specify that 31 deployment is the basis of the order and include provisions for
01 (1) custody or reasonable visitation during a period of leave granted to 02 the deployed parent if the custody or visitation is in the child's best interest; 03 (2) termination of the temporary order and resumption of the 04 permanent order within 10 days after notification of the deployed parent's ability to 05 resume custody or visitation unless the court finds that resumption of the custody or 06 visitation order in effect before deployment is no longer in the child's best interest; the 07 nondeployed parent shall bear the burden of proving that resumption of the order is no 08 longer in the child's best interest; 09 (3) a hearing if a child of a deployed parent has been moved out of 10 state and the nondeployed parent has filed a motion that alleges that resumption of the 11 permanent custody order will result in immediate danger of irreparable harm to the 12 child or that the presumption under AS 25.24.150(g) exists; 13 (4) delegation, on request of the deployed parent, of the deployed 14 parent's visitation rights under an existing order, if any, to another family member who 15 has an existing close relationship to the child if the delegation is in the child's best 16 interest; and 17 (5) immediate notification by each parent of a change of address or 18 contact information to the other parent and to the court; if a valid court order issued 19 under AS 12.61.120 or AS 25.20.060 or an equivalent provision in another jurisdiction 20 is in effect that requires that the address or contact information of the parent be kept 21 confidential, the notification shall be made to the court only, and a copy of the order 22 shall be included in the notification. 23 (f) A court shall expedite a hearing to modify custody or visitation on a 24 motion made by a parent who is subject to deployment. 25 (g) In making a determination of the best interests of the child, the court shall 26 consider the factors under AS 25.24.150(c) and apply the rebuttable presumption 27 under AS 25.24.150(g) to visitation, delegation, and custody orders issued under this 28 section. In addition, there is a rebuttable presumption that a deployed parent's 29 visitation rights may not be delegated to a family member who has a history of 30 perpetrating domestic violence against a spouse, a child, or a domestic living partner, 31 or to a family member with an individual in the family member's household who has a
01 history of perpetrating domestic violence against a spouse, a child, or a domestic 02 living partner. 03 (h) In this section, "deployment," "family member," "military service," and 04 "parent" have the meanings given in AS 25.20.095. 05 * Sec. 3. AS 25.24.150 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: 06 (l) Except as provided in AS 25.20.095 and 25.20.110, a court may not 07 consider a parent's activation to military service and deployment in determining the 08 best interest of the child under (c) of this section. In this subsection, "deployment" has 09 the meaning given in AS 25.20.095. 10 * Sec. 4. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 11 read: 12 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 99(a), Alaska Rules of Civil 13 Procedure, is amended to read: 14 (a) Authorization for Telephonic, Video, or Internet Participation. The 15 court may allow one or more parties, counsel, witnesses or the judge to participate 16 telephonically in any hearing or deposition for good cause and in the absence of 17 substantial prejudice to opposing parties. The court shall allow video or Internet 18 testimony if the hearing or deposition involves the custody or visitation of a child 19 of a parent who is deployed, as that term is defined in AS 25.20.095, at the 20 request of the deployed parent. Authorization for a witness to telephonically 21 participate in a deposition does not bar the witnesses' testimony from being videotaped 22 under Civil Rule 30.1; nor does it bar a party or attorney from being present at the site 23 at which the witness is physically present. 24 * Sec. 5. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to 25 read: 26 CONDITIONAL EFFECT. The amendment to Rule 99(a), Alaska Rules of Civil 27 Procedure, made by sec. 4 of this Act, takes effect only if sec. 4 of this Act receives the two- 28 thirds majority vote of each house required by art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of the State of 29 Alaska.