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Custody/Visitation for Parents in the Armed Forces

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Have you been deployed or recently received orders to be deployed in the U.S. Armed Forces?

Illinois law has recently been changed to grant members of the armed forces higher priority and greater convenience in addressing their family law cases, plus, substitute visitation is also possible.

A parent who is deployed or has orders to be deployed shall receive expedited priority in being set for hearing on custody and visitation matters. A deployed parent can also testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means if he or she is unavailable to appear.

The ability to designate a visitation substitute may be the best new benefit. A court may allow a parent who is deployed or has orders to be deployed to designate a person who is known to the child to exercise reasonable substitute visitation. So grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles are now great options to care for your child and maintain family ties when you’re deployed overseas.

Any temporary modification to a custody or visitation order made during a parent’s deployment must be for the purpose of providing “reasonable accommodations necessitated by the deployment.” The temporary order shall specify deployment as its basis and must also provide for 1) custody or reasonable visitation during leave if it is in the child’s best interest, 2) appropriate visitation by electronic means, 3) reservation of the court’s jurisdiction to change or terminate the order once the parent’s deployment has ended, on terms and conditions that are in the child’s best interest.

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