Senate Approves Legislation to Protect Child Custody Rights of Deployed Soldiers

Dallas – The state Senate recently approved a bill to protect custody rights of deployed soldiers, according to Senator Lisa Baker, who chairs the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee. Baker said that cases in other parts of the country where deployed soldiers lost their custody rights prompted legislators to protect the interests of Pennsylvania troops.

“There are more than 140,000 single parents in uniform nationwide, and more and more are being asked to serve overseas or far away from their families,” Baker said. “They put their lives on hold to defend us. They shouldn’t have to fear the loss of their children simply because they were called to duty.”

Federal law currently protects soldiers from certain civil actionsduring military activation. Under the act, soldiers who are deployed can’t be evicted, creditors can’t seize their property, and civilian health benefits, if suspended during deployment, must be reinstated. However, the law does not address custody issues.

“This bill would specify that military activation cannot be used as a reason to justify permanent changes in custody or visitation cases in Pennsylvania,” Baker said.

The measure now moves to the House for consideration.

Contact: Lee Ann Labecki
(717) 787-7428

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