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What child custody arrangements work best for military families?

| Apr 20, 2021 | Child Custody |

Adults often struggle to adjust to the new chapter in their lives once they divorce. It’s even more challenging for kids to adapt to their new normal, though. 

A parent’s role as a service member can make things more challenging when it comes to arranging for child visitation or custody. Making such arrangements can be particularly difficult when the service member lives in another state or is on deployment overseas.

Similarities between civilian and military parent-child custody cases

There’s no such thing as a military family law court. Both civilian and military parents address any child custody or support concerns in the same courtrooms under the watchful eye of the same family law judges. Some unique aspects do apply, however, to military life that the court must weigh when making decisions in child custody cases involving a service member’s child.

The impact of distance of military child custody arrangements

Custody schedules tend to be more fluid when both parents reside in the same area. Parents tend to have more frequent contact with one another and often can designate one another as the first person a custodial parent should call if they need a babysitter. 

Divorced couples, like military ones, don’t often reside close to one another. Structured visitation agreements may work best in situations like these as they establish set drop-off and pick-up times and locations for the children, as well as a protocol for dealing with changes.

Regular visitation might not be an option if a service member’s deployment is in another state. They may have to occur during school breaks or holidays while being supplemented by phone or video visitations in between.  

A service member parent’s deployment overseas requires the implementation of alternative visitation arrangements. There may need to be possible substitute visitations, whereby the child spends time with a service member’s parents, siblings, grandparents or other close relatives in person instead of them. They may have to petition the court for additional visitation both before and after their deployment as well.

Negotiating a parenting plan in your case

Child custody agreements should focus on what’s in the best interest of your child. An attorney experienced in handling military divorces may have the necessary insight to help you navigate this difficult time.

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