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Special considerations for military dads going through divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2020 | Firm News

Quite a few men enter into military service for financial reasons. Some people join for the promise of paid college tuition after their service, while others join because military service offers not just a living wage but also a housing stipend that increases with the size of your family.

For husbands, fathers and those who hope to start a family soon, military service can be a great way to provide for the basic needs your spouse and children will have, including shelter and medical insurance.

Sadly, the very career you entered in hopes of providing for your family can eventually take its toll on your family relationships. If you find yourself facing divorce while still an active-duty service member, there are many special considerations for you, particularly when it comes to your children.

Shared custody may not be the best option right away

If the potential exists for you to get called up for deployment, having equally shared custody may not be the simplest or best solution for your family. In the event that you do wind up serving overseas, your children will have to adjust to a new family schedule, while you may have to make arrangements for rapid changes to the parenting plan with very little notice.

The Nebraska family courts handle a number of military divorces, so they understand the unique considerations that impact custody proceedings for military parents. The chances are good that visitation will be the better solution until active deployment is no longer a concern. At that point, you will have the right to ask for a modification and increase your parenting time.

Make sure your parenting plan includes rules for during deployment

In the event that you wind up deployed overseas, you don’t want to go months without hearing from or seeing your children. Digital or virtual visitation has made it easier for service members to remain a part of the lives of their loved ones while serving their country. Unfortunately, the more contentious your divorce is, the more likely it is that your ex will resent needing to listen to the children’s video call with you for hours every week.

In order to prevent the potential parental alienation that could occur during a deployment, you want to include provisions in your parenting plan for communication with your children during deployment. Requiring that your ex make the children available for at least an hour of video chat time every week is a reasonable expectation. You may also be able to include rules for letter writing or even the sending of care packages to ensure that your children feel like they can play a role in your life too.

Divorce will impact your housing stipend and possibly your pension

A divorce while in the military can definitely impact your income level and your financial future. Depending on multiple factors, including the length of your marriage, your ex may have a claim to some of your pension during the divorce.

You will also likely have to share a portion of your pension with them as part of the asset division process. Regardless of the length of your marriage, the chances are good that your divorce will reduce your income and housing stipend while also impacting the amount of your pension that you can retain.