Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1598 By Senator Passidomo 28-01221A-18 20181598__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to deployed parent custody and 3 visitation; creating part IV of ch. 61, F.S., entitled 4 “Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act”; 5 providing definitions; providing remedies for 6 noncompliance; authorizing a court to issue certain 7 custodial orders only under certain jurisdiction; 8 providing notice requirements; providing requirements 9 for proceeding for custodial responsibility of a child 10 of a servicemember; providing requirements for 11 agreement forms, termination, modification, power of 12 attorney, and filing; providing requirements for 13 temporary orders of custodial responsibility; 14 authorizing electronic testimony in a proceeding for 15 temporary custody; providing for the effect of any 16 prior judicial order or agreement; authorizing a court 17 to grant caretaking authority or limited contact to a 18 nonparent under certain conditions; providing for the 19 termination of a grant of authority; providing 20 requirements for an order of temporary custody; 21 authorizing a court to enter a temporary order for 22 child support under certain circumstances; authorizing 23 a court to modify or terminate a temporary grant of 24 custodial responsibility; providing procedures for 25 termination of a temporary custodial responsibility 26 agreement; providing for visitation; providing 27 construction; providing applicability; providing an 28 effective date. 29 30 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 31 32 Section 1. Part IV of chapter 61, Florida Statutes, 33 consisting of sections 61.703-61.773, Florida Statutes, is 34 created and entitled “Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and 35 Visitation Act.” 36 61.703 Definitions.—As used in this part: 37 (1) “Adult” means an individual who has attained 18 years 38 of age or who has had the disability of nonage removed under 39 chapter 743. 40 (2) “Caretaking authority” means the right to live with and 41 care for a child on a day-to-day basis. The term includes 42 physical custody, parenting time, right to access, and 43 visitation. 44 (3) “Child” means: 45 (a) An individual who has not attained 18 years of age and 46 who has not had the disability of nonage removed under chapter 47 743; or 48 (b) An adult son or daughter by birth or adoption, or 49 designated by general law, who is the subject of a court order 50 concerning custodial responsibility. 51 (4) “Close and substantial relationship” means a 52 relationship in which a significant bond exists between a child 53 and a nonparent. 54 (5) “Court” means the court of legal jurisdiction. 55 (6) “Custodial responsibility” includes all powers and 56 duties relating to caretaking authority and decisionmaking 57 authority for a child. The term includes physical custody, legal 58 custody, parenting time, right to access, visitation, and 59 authority to grant limited contact with a child. 60 (7) “Decisionmaking authority” means the power to make 61 important decisions regarding a child, including decisions 62 regarding the child’s education, religious training, health 63 care, extracurricular activities, and travel. The term does not 64 include the power to make decisions that necessarily accompany a 65 grant of caretaking authority. 66 (8) “Deploying parent” means a servicemember who is 67 deployed or has been notified of impending deployment and is: 68 (a) A parent of a child; or 69 (b) An individual who has custodial responsibility for a 70 child. 71 (9) “Deployment” means the movement or mobilization of a 72 servicemember for more than 90 days but less than 18 months 73 pursuant to uniformed service orders that: 74 (a) Are designated as unaccompanied; 75 (b) Do not authorize dependent travel; or 76 (c) Otherwise do not permit the movement of family members 77 to the location to which the servicemember is deployed. 78 (10) “Family member” means a sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, 79 stepparent, or grandparent of a child or an individual 80 recognized to be in a familial relationship with a child. 81 (11) “Limited contact” means the authority of a nonparent 82 to visit a child for a limited time. The term includes authority 83 to take the child to a place other than the child’s residence. 84 (12) “Nonparent” means an individual other than a deploying 85 parent or other parent. 86 (13) “Other parent” means an individual who, in addition to 87 a deploying parent, is: 88 (a) A parent of a child; or 89 (b) An individual who has custodial responsibility for a 90 child. 91 (14) “Record” means information that is created in a 92 tangible medium or stored in an electronic or other medium and 93 is retrievable in perceivable form. 94 (15) “Return from deployment” means the conclusion of a 95 servicemember’s deployment as specified in uniformed service 96 orders. 97 (16) “Servicemember” means a member of a uniformed service. 98 (17) “Sign” means, with the intent to authenticate or adopt 99 a record, to: 100 (a) Execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or 101 (b) Attach to or logically associate with the record an 102 electronic symbol, sound, or process. 103 (18) “State” means a state of the United States, the 104 District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin 105 Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the 106 jurisdiction of the United States. 107 (19) “Uniformed service” means any of the following: 108 (a) Active and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air 109 Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States. 110 (b) The United States Merchant Marine. 111 (c) The commissioned corps of the United States Public 112 Health Service. 113 (d) The commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and 114 Atmospheric Administration. 115 (e) The National Guard of a state or territory of the 116 United States, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. 117 61.705 Remedies for noncompliance.—In addition to other 118 remedies authorized by general law, if a court finds that a 119 party to a proceeding acts in bad faith or intentionally fails 120 to comply with this part or a court order issued under this 121 part, the court may assess reasonable attorney fees and costs 122 against the party, and order other appropriate relief. 123 61.707 Jurisdiction.— 124 (1) A court may issue an order regarding custodial 125 responsibility only if the court has jurisdiction under the 126 Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. 127 (2) For purposes of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction 128 and Enforcement Act, the residence of the deploying parent does 129 not change by reason of the deployment if: 130 (a) A court has issued a temporary order regarding 131 custodial responsibility. 132 (b) A court has issued a permanent order regarding 133 custodial responsibility before notice of deployment and the 134 parents modify that order temporarily by agreement. 135 (c) A court in another state has issued a temporary order 136 regarding custodial responsibility as a result of impending or 137 current deployment. 138 (3) This section does not prevent a court from exercising 139 temporary emergency jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody 140 Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. 141 61.709 Notice requirement for deploying parent.— 142 (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (3), and 143 subject to subsection (2), a deploying parent shall notify in a 144 record to the other parent: 145 (a) A pending deployment not later than 7 days after 146 receiving notice of deployment unless he or she is reasonably 147 prevented from doing so by the circumstances of service, in 148 which case the deploying parent shall provide notice as soon as 149 reasonably possible. 150 (b) A plan fulfilling each parent’s share of custodial 151 responsibility during deployment provided as soon as reasonably 152 possible after notice of deployment is given under paragraph 153 (a). 154 (2) If a court order prohibits disclosure of the address or 155 contact information of the other parent, notice pursuant to 156 subsection (1) must be provided to the issuing court. If the 157 address of the other parent is available to the issuing court, 158 the court shall forward the notice to the other parent. The 159 court shall keep confidential the address or contact information 160 of the other parent. 161 (3) Notice pursuant to subsection (1) is not required if 162 both parents are living in the same residence and have actual 163 notice of the deployment or plan. 164 (4) In a proceeding regarding custodial responsibility, a 165 court may consider the reasonableness of a parent’s efforts to 166 comply with this section. 167 61.711 Duty to notify of change of address.— 168 (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2), an 169 individual granted custodial responsibility during deployment 170 must notify the deploying parent and any other individual with 171 custodial responsibility of a child of any change of mailing 172 address or residence until the grant is terminated. The 173 individual must provide the notice to any court that has issued 174 a custody or child support order concerning the child. 175 (2) If a court order prohibits disclosure of the address or 176 contact information of an individual to whom custodial 177 responsibility has been granted, notice pursuant to subsection 178 (1) must be provided to the issuing court. The court shall keep 179 confidential the mailing address or residence of the individual 180 granted custodial responsibility. 181 61.713 General consideration in custody proceeding of 182 parent’s service.—In a proceeding for custodial responsibility 183 of a child of a servicemember, a court may not consider a 184 parent’s past deployment or possible future deployment in 185 determining the best interest of the child. 186 61.721 Form of custodial responsibility agreement.— 187 (1) The parents of a child may enter into a temporary 188 agreement granting custodial responsibility during deployment. 189 (2) The agreement must be in writing and signed by both 190 parents and any nonparent granted custodial responsibility. 191 (3) Subject to subsection (4), the agreement, if feasible, 192 must: 193 (a) Identify the destination, duration, and conditions of 194 the deployment that is the basis for the agreement. 195 (b) Specify the allocation of caretaking authority among 196 the deploying parent, the other parent, and any nonparent. 197 (c) Specify any decisionmaking authority that accompanies a 198 grant of caretaking authority. 199 (d) Specify any grant of limited contact to a nonparent. 200 (e) Provide a process to resolve any dispute that may arise 201 if custodial responsibility is shared by the other parent and a 202 nonparent, or by other nonparents. 203 (f) Specify the frequency, duration, and means, including 204 electronic means, by which the deploying parent will have 205 contact with the child, any role to be played by the other 206 parent or nonparent in facilitating the contact, and the 207 allocation of any costs of contact. 208 (g) Specify contact between the deploying parent and child 209 during the time the deploying parent is on leave or is otherwise 210 available. 211 (h) Acknowledge that the agreement does not modify any 212 existing child support obligation and that changing the terms of 213 the obligation during deployment requires modification in the 214 appropriate court. 215 (i) Provide that the agreement will terminate according to 216 the procedures under this part after the deploying parent 217 returns from deployment. 218 (j) Specify which parent is required to file the agreement 219 if the agreement must be filed pursuant to s. 61.729. 220 (4) The omission of any item in subsection (3) does not 221 invalidate the agreement. 222 61.723 Nature of authority created by custodial 223 responsibility agreement.— 224 (1) An agreement granting custodial responsibility during 225 deployment is temporary and terminates after the deploying 226 parent returns from deployment unless the agreement has been 227 terminated before that time by court order or modification under 228 s. 61.725. The agreement does not create an independent, 229 continuing right to caretaking authority, decisionmaking 230 authority, or limited contact for an individual granted 231 custodial responsibility. 232 (2) A nonparent granted caretaking authority, 233 decisionmaking authority, or limited contact by agreement has 234 standing to enforce the agreement until it is terminated by 235 court order or under s. 61.761, or modified under s. 61.725. 236 61.725 Modification of agreement.— 237 (1) The parents of a child may modify an agreement granting 238 custodial responsibility by mutual consent. 239 (2) If an agreement is modified before deployment of a 240 deploying parent, the modification must be in writing and signed 241 by both parents and any nonparent granted custodial 242 responsibility under the modified agreement. 243 (3) If an agreement is modified during deployment of a 244 deploying parent, the modification must be agreed to in a record 245 by both parents and any nonparent granted custodial 246 responsibility. 247 61.727 Power of attorney.—A deploying parent may, by power 248 of attorney, grant all or part of custodial responsibility to an 249 adult nonparent for the period of deployment if no other parent 250 possesses custodial responsibility, or if a court order 251 currently in effect prohibits contact between the child and the 252 other parent. The deploying parent may revoke the power of 253 attorney by signing a revocation of the power of attorney. 254 61.729 Filing custodial responsibility agreement or power 255 of attorney with court.—An agreement or power of attorney must 256 be filed within a reasonable time with a court that has entered 257 an order in effect relating to custodial responsibility or child 258 support concerning the child who is the subject of the agreement 259 or power. The case number and heading of the pending case 260 concerning custodial responsibility or child support must be 261 provided to the court with the agreement or power. 262 61.733 Proceeding for temporary custody order.— 263 (1) After a deploying parent receives notice of deployment 264 and until the deployment terminates, a court may issue a 265 temporary order granting custodial responsibility unless 266 prohibited by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Title 50, 267 Appendix U.S.C. ss. 501 et seq. A court may not issue a 268 permanent order granting custodial responsibility without the 269 consent of the deploying parent. 270 (2)(a) At any time after a deploying parent receives notice 271 of deployment, either parent may file a motion regarding 272 custodial responsibility of a child during deployment. The 273 motion must be filed in a pending proceeding for custodial 274 responsibility in a court with jurisdiction under s. 61.707 or, 275 if a pending proceeding does not exist in a court with 276 jurisdiction under s. 61.707, the motion must be filed in a new 277 action for granting custodial responsibility during deployment. 278 (b) If a motion to grant custodial responsibility is filed 279 under paragraph (a) before a deploying parent deploys, the court 280 shall conduct an expedited hearing. 281 61.735 Testimony by electronic means.—In a proceeding for a 282 temporary custody order, a party or witness who is not 283 reasonably able to appear in person may appear, provide 284 testimony, and present evidence by electronic means unless the 285 court finds good cause to require in-person testimony. 286 61.737 Effect of prior judicial order or agreement.—In a 287 proceeding for a temporary grant of custodial responsibility: 288 (1) A prior judicial order granting custodial 289 responsibility in the event of deployment is binding on the 290 court unless circumstances meet the requirements authorized by 291 general law for modifying a judicial order regarding custodial 292 responsibility. 293 (2) The court shall enforce a prior written agreement 294 between the parents for granting custodial responsibility in the 295 event of deployment, including an agreement for custodial 296 responsibility during deployment, unless the court finds that 297 the agreement is not in the best interest of the child. 298 61.739 Grant of caretaking authority to nonparent.— 299 (1) Upon the motion of a deploying parent and in accordance 300 with general law, if it is in the best interest of the child, a 301 court may grant caretaking authority to a nonparent who is an 302 adult family member of the child or an adult with whom the child 303 has a close and substantial relationship. 304 (2) Unless a grant of caretaking authority to a nonparent 305 is agreed to by the other parent, the grant is limited to an 306 amount of time that may not exceed: 307 (a) The amount of time granted to the deploying parent 308 under a permanent custody order; however, the court may add 309 travel time necessary to transport the child; or 310 (b) In the absence of a permanent custody order that is 311 currently in effect, the amount of time the deploying parent 312 habitually cared for the child before being notified of 313 deployment; however, the court may add travel time necessary to 314 transport the child. 315 (3) If the deploying parent is unable to exercise 316 decisionmaking authority, a court may grant part of that 317 authority to a nonparent who is an adult family member of the 318 child or an adult with whom the child has a close and 319 substantial relationship. If a court grants the authority to a 320 nonparent, the court shall specify the decisionmaking powers 321 granted. 322 61.741 Grant of limited contact.—A court shall grant 323 limited contact to a nonparent who is a family member of the 324 child or an individual with whom the child has a close and 325 substantial relationship on motion of a deploying parent and in 326 accordance with general law unless the court finds that limited 327 contact with a nonparent would not be in the best interest of 328 the child. 329 61.743 Nature of authority created by temporary custody 330 order.— 331 (1) A grant of authority is temporary and terminates after 332 the deploying parent returns from deployment unless the grant 333 has been terminated before that time by court order. The grant 334 does not create an independent, continuing right to caretaking 335 authority, decisionmaking authority, or limited contact to an 336 individual granted temporary custody. 337 (2) A nonparent granted caretaking authority, 338 decisionmaking authority, or limited contact has standing to 339 enforce the grant until it is terminated by court order or under 340 this part. 341 61.745 Content of temporary custody order.—An order 342 granting custodial responsibility, when applicable, must: 343 (1) Designate the order as temporary and provide for 344 termination after the deploying parent returns from deployment. 345 (2) Identify, to the extent feasible, the destination, 346 duration, and conditions of the deployment. 347 (3) Specify the allocation of caretaking authority, 348 decisionmaking authority, or limited contact among the deploying 349 parent, the other parent, and any nonparent. 350 (4) Provide a process to resolve any dispute that may arise 351 if the order divides caretaking or decisionmaking authority 352 between individuals, or grants caretaking authority to one 353 individual and limited contact to another individual. 354 (5) Provide for liberal communication between the deploying 355 parent and the child during deployment, including through 356 electronic means, unless it is not in the best interest of the 357 child, and allocate any costs of communication. 358 (6) Provide for liberal contact between the deploying 359 parent and the child during the time the deploying parent is on 360 leave or otherwise available, unless it is not in the best 361 interest of the child. 362 (7) Provide for reasonable contact between the deploying 363 parent and the child after the parent’s return from deployment 364 until the temporary order is terminated, even if the time of 365 contact exceeds the time the deploying parent spent with the 366 child before entry of the temporary order. 367 61.747 Order for child support.—If a court has issued an 368 order granting caretaking authority, or an agreement granting 369 caretaking authority has been executed, the court may enter a 370 temporary order for child support authorized by general law if 371 the court has jurisdiction under the Uniform Interstate Family 372 Support Act. 373 61.749 Modifying or terminating grant of custodial 374 responsibility or limited contact to nonparent.— 375 (1) Except for an agreement under s. 61.723, or as 376 otherwise provided in subsection (2), and consistent with the 377 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Title 50, Appendix U.S.C. ss. 378 501 et seq, a court may modify or terminate a temporary grant of 379 custodial responsibility on motion of a deploying parent, other 380 parent, or any nonparent granted caretaking authority if the 381 modification or termination is consistent with this part and is 382 in the best interest of the child. A modification is temporary 383 and terminates after the deploying parent returns from 384 deployment, unless the grant has been terminated before that 385 time by court order. 386 (2) The court shall terminate a grant of limited contact on 387 motion of a deploying parent. 388 61.761 Procedure for terminating temporary agreement 389 granting custodial responsibility.— 390 (1) After a deploying parent returns from deployment, a 391 deploying parent and the other parent may file with the court an 392 agreement to terminate a temporary order for custodial 393 responsibility. 394 (2) After an agreement has been filed, it shall terminate: 395 (a) On the date specified on an agreement to terminate 396 under subsection (1); or 397 (b) On the date the agreement is signed by the deploying 398 parent and the other parent if the agreement to terminate does 399 not specify a date. 400 (3) In the absence of an agreement to terminate under (1), 401 a temporary agreement granting custodial responsibility 402 terminates 60 days after the deploying parent gives notice of 403 return from deployment to the other parent. 404 (4) If a temporary agreement granting custodial 405 responsibility was filed with a court pursuant to s. 61.729, an 406 agreement to terminate must be filed with the court within a 407 reasonable time after the deploying parent and other parent sign 408 the agreement. The case number and heading of the case 409 concerning custodial responsibility or child support must be 410 provided to the court with the agreement to terminate. 411 (5) A proceeding seeking to prevent termination of a 412 temporary order for custodial responsibility is governed by 413 general law. 414 61.763 Visitation before termination of temporary grant of 415 custodial responsibility.—From the time a deploying parent 416 returns from deployment until a temporary agreement or order for 417 custodial responsibility is terminated, the court shall issue a 418 temporary order granting the deploying parent reasonable contact 419 with the child even if the time of contact exceeds the time the 420 deploying parent spent with the child before deployment unless 421 it is not in the best interest of the child. 422 61.771 Relation to electronic signatures in Global and 423 National Commerce Act.—This act modifies, limits, or supersedes 424 the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, 425 15 U.S.C. s. 7001 et seq., but does not modify, limit, or 426 supersede s. 101(c) of that act, 15 U.S.C. s. 7001(c), or 427 authorize electronic delivery of any of the notices described in 428 s. 103(b) of that act, 15 U.S.C. s. 7003(b). 429 61.773 Applicability.—This act does not affect the validity 430 of a temporary court order concerning custodial responsibility 431 during deployment entered before July 1, 2018. 432 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.