Child custody and military service: what you need to know

For service members who have children with former partners, it’s essential to consider what your custody arrangements will be if you’re called away on military duty. Even military members with visitation rights or partial custody have to plan for these situations to avoid serious upsets in their kids’ lives. Find out how you can make these arrangements for your children in California.

The impact of military duty on child custody

Military service can get in the way of child custody arrangements in various ways. The physical absence of the parent is usually the biggest change, and the emotional element of the situation often plays no small role as well. This can easily lead to a stressful situation in which everyone involved has to suffer because of it.

No matter how devoted of a parent you are, serving in the military almost always has a significant bearing on your parenting. If there are any issues that already exist under the surface of your relationship or custody arrangement, military service tends to only exacerbate the tension and bring these problems to a head.

Fortunately, there are protections and processes that service members have access to. These are both for them and their military spouses to help ease the impact of active duty on parenting.

A plan for the family

A family care plan is a great place to start. As with most of the custody planning process, it’s best to take care of this step prior to deployment.

Care means a variety of things in this case. The plan should detail who covers financial expenses, manages their medical plan as well as the logistics of getting from place to place during the time that the military member is on active duty

Co-parents have to work as a team to form a plan that’s solid and effective. But even when all these steps are followed and everyone plays ball, it’s still not a guarantee that the arrangement will be a success.