Serving in the military is an extraordinary sacrifice. Not only do service members put their lives in danger, they also can spend long stretches of time away from their families.
Under these circumstances, it is crucial for parents in the military to take action to protect themselves and their children, particularly if you are divorced. Below are a few basic tools you should have in place if you are a military parent.
Child custody agreement
If you are divorced or unmarried, you should have a custody plan in place whether you are going to be deployed or not. This plan will dictate what type of custody or visitation rights you and the other parent have. It will also include information on parenting schedules. A custody plan identifies and protects a parent's rights.
Family care plan
This is a document that lays out crucial plans and guidance for the care of your children if you are in training or deployed. As this article discusses in more detail, a family care plan should include:
- Food restrictions for a child
- Details on the child's activity and schedule
- Names and contact information for alternate caregivers
- Your child's medical information
In other words, the plan should include everything a different caretaker might need to maintain consistency when you or the other parent is away.
Details on virtual visitation
Technology makes it possible to communicate with people on the other side of the world fairly easily. If you or the other parent of your child is in the military, then you will want to discuss guidelines and rules for video chats, phone calls and other means of virtual communication when you are not able to be together in person. This ensures a parent and child can still spend time together and maintain their relationship.
Discuss these and other parenting tools with an attorney
Serving in the military is a major commitment, as is parenting. To ensure these two elements of a parent's life can work together - and to make things as clear and simple as possible - you can discuss with an attorney the various tools and solutions that can be effective for helping military parents protect themselves and their children.