Military Custody Schedule for Your Children

How do I make a military custody schedule for my children?

You can create your own military custody schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with a lawyer or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of a lawyer, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.

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What is a military custody schedule?

A military custody schedule is a parenting time schedule that is part of a standard divorce, but customized for one or both parents serving in the military. In some instances, it is no different than a common custody schedule, but in others, your specialized job makes the schedule unique.

Your children deserve to have as much quality time with both parents, but when one or both of you are in the military, there may be more to visitations than if you had a more common office job. Deployment, special assignments and even travel can make visitations more complicated.

A family court wants to see a custody schedule that puts the children's best interests first. The judge will evaluate your military custody schedule to ensure that you or the other parent are not causing unnecessary stress to your children.

You can create a military custody schedule to present in court using custody software like Custody X Change. This software provides you with templates that you can customize to fit your unique situation.

What exactly does a military custody schedule cover?

A military custody schedule should cover the same topics that a standard custody schedule does, and should be customized to fit your family, just as a standard custody schedule.

No single custody schedule will fit every military family, so you must create one that covers your unique circumstances.

A standard custody schedule includes:

  • School schedule: A weekday schedule of where your child will be, usually including school.
  • Holiday schedule: A division of holiday time between you and the other parent.
  • Vacation schedule: Time when you or the other parent schedules a vacation or
  • Special events schedule: Single day schedules for special days like a child's birthday

Start by creating a standard custody schedule, using a Custody X Change template, then include additional details that relate to how the military affects that schedule.

What is different about a military custody schedule?

A military custody schedule must include scenarios that examine the possibility that you or the other parent may be forced to terminate visitations with children temporarily due to your job.

An active duty military parent faces several unique challenges to parental visitation:

  • Temporary training at another location
  • Temporary transfer to another location
  • Mobilization
  • Deployment
  • Relocation to a location that doesn't support families

When you cannot make visits with your children, or else have very limited visits, the schedule should be rearranged so the daily needs of the children are met. Many parents include sections that state when the away parent does have time off, those breaks take priority over any previous scheduling, for example.

Your military parenting plan, of which the custody schedule is part, should include clear language that protects your parental rights, the other parent's rights and your children's well-being.

What information do I need to create a military custody schedule?

To create a military custody schedule, you'll need to gather the same information as for a common custody schedule, which is exact dates and times for a whole year.

Here are just some ideas of the details you'll need to create a military custody schedule:

  • Pick-up and drop-off times for each child's school
  • School calendar, which includes breaks and half days
  • Work schedule for you and the other parent
  • Holiday dates
  • Special days, such as birthdays
  • Any vacation times you have scheduled

When you have this information in front of you, use Custody X Change software to enter in all the dates. The software creates a visitation calendar that is easy to read and can be printed or uploaded to your mobile devices.

Add in any scheduling issues that relate to military service, such as annual summer training or any other specialized circumstances that will affect visitation with your children. For example, you could specify that your children spend some time with your parents while you are away to keep up connections with your side of the family.

Is my military custody schedule age appropriate for my children?

Children go through different stages as they grow, and your military custody schedule should take into consideration what is important for their health and development. A judge is more likely to approve a schedule that satisfies age-appropriate developmental needs.

Here are some examples of age appropriate visitation:

  • Infants: Avoid visitations that require the infant to be away from the primary caregiver for more than a few hours. Short, frequent visitations are best to establish familiarity.
  • Toddlers: Because they lack a sophisticated understanding of time, toddlers should also experience shorter, more frequent visitations. No overnights for this age group and visitations in familiar surroundings are often less stressful.
  • Preschoolers: Day-long visits are fine for this age group, but no overnights unless the child is extremely comfortable. The concept of time is growing more concrete, and counting hours and days until visitation can help with anticipation and transition.
  • School kids: Depending on the child's maturity and coping abilities, children's visitations can range from overnight to extended weekends. Routine is very important so work on arranging schedules that are predictable and repetitive.
  • Teens: While this age can handle a variety of visitations, they are often busy with extracurricular activities, friends, jobs and more. Take the teen's schedule into consideration as you structure quality time with each parent, not necessarily quantity time.

Use Custody X Change software to create a custody schedule that fits your family's life, including when one or both of you are in the military.

What protections are there for a military custody schedule?

Several state and federal laws are in place to protect your parental rights as a service member, so your military custody schedule can't be changed permanently. The U.S. government wants to avoid military parents losing their custody rights when they serve their country.

Because there are limits to a military parent's ability to travel and the expense of legal representation and travel, it is usually difficult for deployed parents to fight for their parental rights.

Because there may be times when the military parent is unable to visit his or her children, the other parent may try to change the custody arrangements from temporary to permanent.

The military parent is not present to attend custody hearings, and often he or she cannot do much to stop proceedings until they return home.

These various laws make it so your military absence is not, by itself, sufficient justification to allow a permanent change of custody. While you want the best for your children, there will still need to be some adjustments after you return.

Create a military custody schedule using Custody X Change software that introduces gradual changes so that everyone thrives.

How can I keep track of the effects of my military custody schedule?

The best way to keep track of the effects of your military custody schedule is keep a parenting journal. Custody X Change software includes a feature that lets you enter notes onto each day of the custody calendar.

Your parenting journal can help you track whenever you or the other parent are late for a transfer, how often you have to rearrange the visitation schedule, how your children behave before and after visits and any other relevant issues.

Once you can review your notes from various days, you can identify any patterns that might be leading up to problems. For example, if you are constantly late for a pick-up due to traffic at a certain time, you and the other parent can discuss a better time that works for everyone.

Serving in the military is often different than the majority of people have, so your military custody schedule should also be unique in order to provide your children with a stable, loving relationship with both parents.

The easiest way to make a military custody schedule

Creating a schedule on your own can feel overwhelming. You have to be sure to use airtight legal language and can't omit any required information.

The Custody X Change app takes the guesswork out of the equation by helping you build a schedule piece by piece.

As a result, you get a written schedule and a visual calendar. They meet your family's needs, as well as the court's standards.

For quick, reliable and affordable help making a custody schedule, turn to Custody X Change.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Long distance schedules

Third party schedules


Summer break

Parenting provisions


How to make a schedule

Factors to consider

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Making a parenting plan

Changing your plan

Interstate, long distance

Temporary plans

Guides by location:

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Scheduling guidelines

Child support calculators

Age guidelines:

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18 months to 3 years

3 to 5 years

5 to 13 years

13 to 18 years


Joint physical custody

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Sole legal custody

Product features:

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Journal what happens

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Calculate time & overnights

Ways to use:

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