2019 - 2020 LEGISLATURE
March 22, 2019 - Introduced by
Joint Legislative Council. Referred to Committee
on Family Law.
1An Act to amend
767.41 (2) (e) 1., 767.41 (2) (e) 2., 767.41 (5) (c) and 767.451 2
(3m); and to create
chapter 324 of the statutes; relating to: a Uniform
3Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill is explained in the Notes provided by the Joint Legislative Council in
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
Joint Legislative Council prefatory note: This bill was prepared for the Joint
Legislative Council's Study Committee on Child Placement and Support. The bill adopts
the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA), by the Uniform
Law Commission, to provide a process and standards for a temporary delegation of
custodial responsibilities when a parent is deployed in military or other national service.
A description of current law and a summary of the bill's key provisions are provided below.
Under current law, in a legal custody determination, a court is prohibited from
considering whether a service member has been or will be absent from the home for a call
to active duty. In a physical placement determination, a court may allocate a service
member's physical placement periods to the other parent for the service member's call to
active duty, if the order requires immediate reinstatement of the prior physical placement
schedule upon the service member's return.
Additionally, under current law, parents may together sign a power of attorney for
a temporary delegation of parental powers for the care and custody of a child to another
person. However, as stated in a Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision, a court has no
authority to delegate a service member's allocation of physical placement periods to
another person without the other parent's agreement. [Lubinski v. Lubinski, 2008 WI
This bill maintains the current law provisions relating to determining or revising
a legal custody or physical placement order between the parents but creates a new
standard for temporary arrangements with another person during a parent's
deployment. Specifically, the bill provides two methods for creating a temporary
delegation of custodial responsibilities during deployment: a temporary agreement
between the parents or a temporary court order following a hearing.
Under a temporary agreement entered into by the parents, custodial
responsibilities or visitation may be shared with any agreed-upon person. The
agreement must identify the specific arrangements for custodial responsibility or
visitation, a process to resolve any dispute that may arise, and arrangements for the
deploying parent's contact with the child during the deployment and while on leave.
The temporary agreement must be signed by both parents and any other person
with whom custodial responsibility is shared, and, if the child is the subject of an
underlying action affecting the family, the agreement must be filed with the court that
has jurisdiction in that action.
Under proceedings for a temporary court order, unless a proceeding is prohibited
by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, custodial responsibilities or visitation may be
granted upon a deploying parent's request to a stepparent, grandparent, or
great-grandparent or to an adult who has a parent-like relationship with the child. The
arrangements must be found to be in the best interests of the child, using the
best-interest factors identified in current state law for legal custody and physical
placement determinations, placing particular emphasis on maintaining sibling
Under the bill, a delegation of physical placement periods cannot be greater than
a child's habitual or court-ordered physical placement with the deploying parent unless
otherwise agreed to by the other parent or as needed to add any unusual travel time.
Additionally, a delegation of custodial responsibilities or visitation cannot be granted to
a person who was previously denied those rights.
Similar to a temporary agreement, a temporary court order must identify the
specific arrangements for custodial responsibility or visitation, a process to resolve any
dispute that may arise, and arrangements for the deploying parent's contact with the
child during the deployment and while on leave. If a court issues a temporary order, or
a temporary agreement has been filed, a court may enter a temporary order for child
When a court receives a motion for a temporary delegation of custodial
responsibilities during deployment, the court must conduct a hearing within 30 days and
must allow a parent or other person to appear by electronic means if the person is not
available to personally appear, unless there is good cause to require a personal
The bill applies to a service member who is deployed between 30 days and 18
months in accordance with service orders that are designated as unaccompanied, do not
authorize dependent travel, or otherwise do not permit movement of a child to the
location. As applied in the bill, service may include service in: the U.S. armed forces,
including any reserve component; the national guard of any state; the merchant marine;
the commissioned corps of the U.S. Public Health Service; or the commissioned corps of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
To begin the process, if a parent receives a deployment order, the parent must
provide notice of the deployment to the other parent within seven days or as soon as
reasonably possible if prevented from giving notice within seven days by the
circumstances of the deployment. As soon as reasonably possible after providing the
notice, the parents must provide each other with a plan for fulfilling their respective
shares of custodial responsibility during the deployment. If a parent's address is
confidential, under a court order, the documents must be submitted to the court for
The bill specifies that temporary arrangements under either an agreement or court
order terminate immediately upon the return of a deploying parent, if the deployment is
for less than six months, 30 days after the return of a deploying parent, if the deployment
is for six months or more, or on a date that is specified by stipulation by the parties or a
If a parent has acted in bad faith or intentionally failed to comply with a temporary
court order or other requirement under these provisions, the bill specifies that a court
may assess reasonable attorney fees and costs and may order other appropriate relief.
The bill asks the Wisconsin Court Records Management Committee to develop a
form that parents may use to enter into an agreement, and a form to file a motion with
a court, for a temporary delegation of custodial responsibilities for a child during a
Chapter 324 of the statutes is created to read:
custody and visitation
7324.01 Short title.
This chapter may be cited as the Uniform Deployed 8
Parents Custody and Visitation Act.
In this chapter:
“Adult" means an individual who has attained 18 years of age or who is an 11
“Child" means any of the following:
(a) An individual who has not attained 18 years of age and who is not an 3
(b) An adult son or daughter by birth or adoption, or under the law of this state 5
other than this chapter, who is the subject of a court order concerning custodial 6
“Court" means a tribunal, including an administrative agency, that is 8
authorized under the law of this state other than this chapter to make, enforce, or 9
modify a decision regarding custodial responsibility.
“Custodial responsibility" includes physical placement, legal custody, and 11
“Deployed" means subject to a deployment.
“Deploying parent" means a service member who is deployed, or who has 14
been notified of impending deployment, and who is any of the following:
(a) A parent of a child under the law of this state other than this chapter.
(b) An individual who has custodial responsibility for a child under the law of 17
this state other than this chapter.
“Deployment" means the movement or mobilization of a service member for 19
more than 30 days but less than 18 months in accordance with service orders that 20
are designated as unaccompanied, do not authorize dependent travel, or otherwise 21
do not permit the movement of a child to the location to which the service member 22
“Emancipated minor" has the meaning given in s. 48.375 (2) (e).
“Family member" means a grandparent, great-grandparent, or stepparent.