Separation and divorce are complicated processes, and even more so when children are involved. Creating a parenting plan is an important – and challenging – piece of the puzzle. Fathers who are members of the military face other uncertainties. Child custody is a big one. What if you get deployed? What if your profession blocks aspects of your parenting responsibilities? These are typical questions asked when a parent is in the military.
Here are a few options available to you:
Alternate parenting plans
When you are in the military, a stable schedule is a privilege you might not acquire. You don’t always know where you will be, and for how long. This makes it difficult to map out time for your children in the future.
Parents in this situation sometimes resort to an alternate parenting plan. The plan goes into effect when one parent must stay at a remote base. This way you have a more flexible visitation schedule, and can spend your allotted free time with the children. The original parenting plan commences once you are back home.
Family care plan
In certain situations, the military will have you develop a family care plan. This is helpful for your family to have even if deployment isn’t expected. Different branches of the military vary with requirements, but the basics of the plan remain the same:
- Contact information of caregivers. The plan requires two caregivers: a primary caregiver and an alternate caregiver, in case the primary one is unavailable at the time.
- Information about the other parent. You’ll need a written consent from the other parent if they’re not a caregiver.
- Financial support for the child. The caregiver you provide should have powers of attorney, which means they can take care of your finances while you’re away.
- Details about possible transportation. If your designated caregiver lives in a different state, the plan requires details on how a plane ticket or bus ride is purchased.
Military divorce and custody
Overall, communication is key. Long-term parenting plans are not always easy to carry out for military service members. That’s why it’s important to create multiple parenting plans for possible situations.
Your children mean the world to you, and you don’t want their living arrangements up in the air. Being prepared will result in less stress during your next phase in life, and theirs as well. Just because you are in the military doesn’t mean you can’t obtain joint or sole custody. With a few solid parenting plans, it is possible to be a father and serve at the same time.