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What is the impact of a military divorce on child custody?

Child custody is a highly emotional issue during many divorces and a military divorce may create additional challenges related to child custody that must be sorted out. Fortunately, the family law process provides resources to help military couples who have made the decision to divorce navigate the child custody process.

As is true in circumstances of civilian divorces and child custody, the best interests of the child standard is used to determine what child custody arrangement is best for the child in military divorce situations as well. A variety of factors are evaluated to decide what is in the best interests of the child which can be different in each situation.

Special considerations for military divorces and child custody agreements

In circumstances of child custody when one or both parents are in the military, the impact of a possible deployment or reassignment on the child custody arrangement must be considered. With little notice, a parent may be deployed overseas or reassigned to a base in another country.

In circumstances of civilian divorces and child custody arrangements, there are specific requirements and limitations related to parental relocation, child custody and visitation. Because this is not necessarily the case in situations of child custody arrangements when one or both parents are in the military, it is important for the child custody agreement to address child custody and visitation in circumstances of a move out of state if the military spouse is deployed or reassigned.

Creating a family care plan

In circumstances of military divorce, a family care plan will need to be developed to account for situations when a parent becomes a single parent following their entry into the military and has custody of the child or in circumstances of a military deployment impacting a child custody arrangement.

The family care plan should address a short-term caretaker for the child, long-term caretaker for the child and provide care provision details for the child’s care if these situations arise.

Child custody is not always the same in situations of a military divorce and can present added layers of complexity when compared to a civilian divorce. It is important for military parents facing child custody concerns to know how these situations are treated and be familiar with the family law resources available to help them.