Child Custody and The Military

Whether your divorce is civilian or military, the primary concern is the welfare of the child or children in the home. The military parent knows that they can be sent to another city, state, or country with little notice. This is simply part of the job. With most divorces, a custodial parent cannot uproot their families and relocate to another part of the world. But, in a military divorce, the responsibilities of the military parents are considered, and special rules apply.

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Determining child custody simply breaks down this way. A child should be placed where he or she will be most healthy and happy. If the court believes that one spouse is more qualified to raise the child or children than the other, that is where the child or children should be placed.

The Flipside to Any Military Divorce

Of course, there is a flipside to military divorce. Most judges do not think it is in the best interest of the child or children to be placed with a parent that stands a high chance of deployment. This is because deployment is so disruptive to all children. They are uprooted from everything and everyone that they know. Their schoolwork is disrupted, and the educational system in other countries may be more or not as advanced. This is difficult at best. Along these lines, the military almost never allows single parents to enlist. If they become a single parent after they enlist, a family plan should be determined with the help of a good child custody attorney.

Family Care Plan

If a single parent or both parents of a child are in the military, the military requires a detailed family care plan to be in place in the event of deployment. This specifies a non-military short term caregiver and a long-term non-military caregiver. The plan includes the financial arrangements for the care of the child and instructions on specifics in the raising of the child. Since the caregiver will be responsible for the transportation, medical care, and education of the child while in their care, in most cases a power of attorney is also required.

The service member’s commanding officer must review the plan and it must be updated annually. A new plan is created with any additional children born into the family.

It’s a New World and Gender Roles Have Changed

There was a time when most military parents were men. There was a time when having a spouse in the armed forces was enough to almost guarantee child custody being granted to the civilian parent. Those days are over.

Today both men and women are in the armed forces in large numbers. While the courts want to ensure the security of the child, the military family must recognize that in this situation, the job comes first. This is a hard choice, but it could come down to national security or to allow someone else to care for you child. This is the reality of the military parent and child custody. For more information, talk to our child custody lawyers today.