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§ 50‑13.7A. Custody and visitation upon military temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization.

  • (a) Purpose. – It is the purpose of this section to provide a means by which to facilitate a fair, efficient, and swift process to resolve matters regarding custody and visitation when a parent receives temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders from the military.
  • (b) Definitions. – As used in this section:
    1. The term “deployment” means the temporary transfer of a service member serving in an active‑duty status to another location in support of combat or some other military operation.
    2. The term “mobilization” means the call‑up of a National Guard or Reserve service member to extended active duty status. For purposes of this definition, “mobilization” does not include National Guard or Reserve annual training.
    3. The term “temporary duty” means the transfer of a service member from one military base to a different location, usually another base, for a limited period of time to accomplish training or to assist in the performance of a noncombat mission.
  • (c) Custody. – When a parent who has custody, or has joint custody with primary physical custody, receives temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders from the military that involve moving a substantial distance from the parent’s residence or otherwise have a material effect on the parent’s ability to exercise custody responsibilities:
    1. Any temporary custody order for the child during the parent’s absence shall end no later than 10 days after the parent returns, but shall not impair the discretion of the court to conduct a hearing for emergency custody upon return of the parent and within 10 days of the filing of a verified motion for emergency custody alleging an immediate danger of irreparable harm to the child; and
    2. The temporary duty, mobilization, or deployment and the temporary disruption to the child’s schedule shall not be a factor in a determination of change of circumstances if a motion is filed to transfer custody from the service member.
  • (d) Visitation. – If the parent with visitation rights receives military temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders that involve moving a substantial distance from the parent’s residence or otherwise have a material effect on the parent’s ability to exercise visitation rights, the court may delegate the parent’s visitation rights, or a portion thereof, to a family member with a close and substantial relationship to the minor child for the duration of the parent’s absence, if delegating visitation rights is in the child’s best interest.
  • (e) Expedited Hearings. – Upon motion of a parent who has received military temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders, the court shall, for good cause shown, hold an expedited hearing in custody and visitation matters instituted under this section when the military duties of the parent have a material effect on the parent’s ability, or anticipated ability, to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing.
  • (f) Electronic Communications. – Upon motion of a parent who has received military temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders, the court shall, upon reasonable advance notice and for good cause shown, allow the parent to present testimony and evidence by electronic means in custody and visitation matters instituted under this section when the military duties of the parent have a material effect on the parent’s ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing. The phrase “electronic means” includes communication by telephone, video teleconference, or the Internet.
  • (g) [Best Interest of the Child. –] Nothing in this section shall alter the duty of the court to consider the best interest of the child in deciding custody or visitation matters. (2007‑175, s. 2.)

Call the Law Office of John P. Fernandez if you have questions or need legal representation in a family law matter. John Fernandez is licensed to practice law in North Carolina. The laws of North Carolina may differ from other states and no information contained herein should be considered legal advice.

About John Fernandez

John P. Fernandez | Child Custody and Divorce Lawyer | Raleigh, NCAttorney John Fernandez works with North Carolina individuals and families who need advice or representation in estate planning and administration matters. John provides an in-depth analysis of each client’s needs and works toward reducing estate taxes, avoiding probate and ensuring that health care decisions are handled appropriately. John helps individuals with modest and large estates achieve their goals.

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