Military Parenting Plans

A military parenting plan has all of the information in a standard parenting plan along with specifics about what happens during deployment, mobilization, temporary duty, etc. when the military parent is gone.

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Here is some information you should include in your plan if you or your child's other parent is in the military.

Physical and legal custody during deployment

Your plan needs to state where you child will live and how the parents will make decisions for the child during the military parent's deployment, mobilization, temporary duty, unaccompanied tour, etc.

If one parent is in the military and the parents have joint custody, the civilian parent usually takes the child when the servicemember is unavailable.

If the servicemember has sole custody of the child and the civilian parent is not fit to take the child, the plan should designate other family members to take custody of the child.

If both parents are in the military then the plan should state where the child will live if both parents are deployed or sent on assignment.

You can give legal custody to the person who has physical custody of the child or you can have joint legal custody with the person who has physical custody.

Visitation during deployment

Your plan should have information about what happens to the visitation schedule when a parent is deployed or on assignment.

You may want to include provisions about having visitation during leave. You could also include a provision about telephone and electronic communication between the child and the deployed parent.

You may also be able to have substitute visitation when the military parent is unavailable for visits. Substitution visitation is when a grandparent or other family member visits the child during the times when the military parent usually would.

What happens after deployment

Your plan and schedule can resume when the military parent comes back from deployment or you can create a new plan and schedule.

You may want to include provisions in your plan about making changes to the plan when the military parent is away. Your plan can state that there can be no changes to the parenting plan made while the military parent is deployed.

The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protects the legal rights of servicemembers when they are called to active duty. The act provides a stay of court and administrative proceedings if your military service affects your ability to proceed in the case. If a civilian spouse tries to change the child custody status and parenting plan while a servicemember is deployed, the servicemember can invoke this act to postpone the hearing.

Relocation

You will need to have information about what happens to the parenting time schedule if a military parent has to relocate. You may want to make a new schedule if that happens or you may want to create several different schedules to prepare for the uncertainties.

If a military parent has custody of the child and has to relocate, the other parent might get custody. You can have a provision in your plan about relocating to prevent this from happening.

Updating the Family Care Plan

The military parent should update his/her Family Care Plan according to the information the parents put in their parenting plan. The Family Care Plan is a collection of documents that describes who will provide care for children or other dependents when a servicemember is deployed. The Family Care Plan should have the same information as the parenting plan so there is a smooth transfer for the child if the military member is deployed.

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Custody X Change is software that helps parents in the military create a parenting plan and a parenting time schedule.

Use the Free Download