Honolulu, Hawaii. Governor Lingle June 25, 2010, signed into law HB2061 which establishes a process by which family court can resolve matters related to custody and visitation for active duty service members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Armed Forces Reserves, and National Guard when deployed.

At issue is the military-readiness of parents who are faced with child custody and visitation matters when deployed, and also the well-being of the affected children.   The measure provides for the court a legal process to address custody and visitation matters.

“This new law reflects the changing needs of our military families, and I’m pleased we are now able to have a positive impact on the children of active members of the armed forces,” said Rep. Cindy Evans, who introduced the bill.

Some of the provisions include:

  • Allowing an already deployed parent to participate in a custody hearing through electronic means such as telephone, video conference, or other means that the court deems reliable.
  • Clarifying that deployment shall not be the sole factor in determining custody and that awarding custody shall be in relation to all factors.
  • Requirements related to visitation and contact.
  • Delegation of the deployed parent’s contact rights.

The new law goes into effect on August 1, 2010.  Here is a link to the legislation: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2010/lists/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2061

Submitted by Thelma Mary Dreyer

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