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 physical custody, the civilian parent usually takes the child when the servicemember is unavailable.
If the servicemember has sole physical 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.
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.
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.
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
In many situations, U.S. servicemembers are required to create a Family Care Plan, which describes who will care for their children or other dependents upon deployment. Military parents should update their Family Care Plan so it matches the information in their parenting plan. This ensures a smooth transfer for the child if the military member is deployed.
The easiest way to make a military parenting plan
Creating a parenting plan on your own can feel overwhelming, especially when a parent is in the military. You need to address every possible situation, including deployment and reassignment.
Use technology to take the guesswork out of the equation. The Custody X Change app walks you through each step of creating a comprehensive parenting plan.
In the app, choose from over 140 popular parenting provisions in more than 25 categories. One category is dedicated specifically to situations that often arise in military families.
The result will be a professional document that secures your child's future, no matter what happens.