Military Visitation Schedules
How to create a military visitation schedule to accommodate the unique challenges presented when a parent is a member of the Armed Forces.
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules and parenting plans. You make each part of your schedule, and then you can print your calendar and plan.
There are three basic components that should be included in a child visitation schedule:
- A regular residential schedule that dictates when the child will spend time with each parent on a regular basis
- A schedule for holidays that allows the child to spend equitable amounts of time with the parents on special occasions
- A vacation schedule or provisions for spending vacation time with the child
When a parent is in the military, things become a little more complicated. You will still need to create schedules for regular visitation time, holidays and vacations, but you will also need to include special provisions to accommodate the unique lifestyle of the military.
When you use Custody X Change to make your visitation schedule there are a variety of common provisions to choose from and you may also include your own.
Civilians often have set work schedules. This is not always true for military personnel. If a parent has a work schedule that may vary it may be difficult to create a set visitation schedule.
You can start by creating a visitation schedule that accommodates the military parent’s current work schedule. If you know the work schedule is going to change every few months, you can include verbiage in your custody agreement that allows the visitation schedule to adjust to schedule changes.
You may want to include provisions that state the minimum amount of time the child will have to spend with the military parent each week. If his or her schedule changes, the visitation schedule can change as well.
For example, if you agree that the military parent will have two overnight visits and one four hour visit per week, the days and times can vary according to the work schedule. This will ensure that the child will be able to spend quality time with the military parent. Otherwise, the child may have to either miss visitation time or spend portions of the visitation time in daycare or with a non-parent caregiver instead of with the parent.
When you use Custody X Change to make your visitation schedule you can edit the custody calendar to reflect any scheduling changes.
Deployment is often an inevitable part of being in the military. Whether the deployment is for two weeks, six months, or a year, you should make sure that your child remains in contact with the other parent during that time.
You can include provisions in your custody agreement that allow your child to communicate with the deployed parent on a routine basis. Even though your child may not be able to spend time with a deployed parent in person, he can still keep in touch with the parent.
You should choose methods of communication that coincide with your child’s age. Older children can e-mail, text, and exchange letters with a deployed parent. Children that cannot read can still talk on the phone, dictate messages, and be read correspondence from the deployed parent. Children of all ages, including infants and toddlers, can see the military parent with video chat applications such as Facetime or Skype.
Regardless of the method of communication, it is important for your child to be able to keep in touch with the deployed parent. You can include provisions for this communication in your custody agreement and you may also include stipulations regarding the equipment and other expenses that may be incurred.
Custody X Change makes it easy for you to include as many stipulations in your custody agreement as you would like.
Yes. You may include a stipulation in your parenting plan that allows an alternate person to have visitation with the child when the other parent is deployed. This could be a grandparent, a step parent, an older sibling, or any other person you both agree on.
Choosing an alternate person to stand in for the deployed parent is an option that allows your child to be able to bond and connect with the military parent’s family even though he or she is absent. It also allows your child to stay in the same routine so she is used to the same schedule when the parent returns.
You can include provisions to allow alternate visitation in your custody agreement. Your child visitation schedule can remain the same while the other parent is gone or you may want to make some adjustments to it, depending on your situation.
When you use Custody X Change to make your visitation schedule you can edit the schedule to reflect third party visitation times.
If it is likely that the military parent may by subject to getting transferred, it is a good idea to make plans for a long distance visitation schedule and include them in your custody order.
There are plenty of civilian families that have long distance visitation schedules.
The children typically visit the absent parent during summer vacations and other long breaks from school.
You may want to consider what you want to happen in the event the military parent is transferred and include plans for how you will handle it now. Being prepared for what may or may not happen in the future is a great way to be proactive and can prevent future conflict or misunderstandings.