Expanded visitation for military families proposed

A bill that would allow parenting plans designed specially for deployed military parents was heard by the Judiciary Committee at a hearing Jan. 22.

LB769, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford, would allow a deployed military parent to delegate some or all of their parenting time to a family member or other adult who has a preexisting, significant relationship with their child. The bill also would permit military parents who are deployed and unable to attend hearings to present testimony and evidence by electronic means.

Crawford said the purpose of the bill is to provide military parents and judges another option “when determining the best interests of a child during the stress and uncertainty of deployment.”

“Regular visits with a grandparent or other trusted adult can bring stability and consistency to a military child during this tumultuous time in their life,” she added.

Amie Martinez, an attorney from Lincoln, testified in support of the bill. She said the measure would address situations in which parents cannot exercise their parenting time. Visitation with extended family is in the best interests of children because it helps maintain relationships, she said.

The bill would not change a military parent’s duty to pay or receive child support under existing parenting plans, nor would it establish separate rights to parenting or visitation for the delegates.

No one testified in opposition to the bill.

The Judiciary Committee took no immediate action on LB769.

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