Serving your country is an honor, but it is not one that does not come with sacrifices. Unfortunately, many of the hardships of duty don't just rest on the shoulders of the service member, but also their family, including their children. However, even in uniform, it's important for parents who serve to have a loving and fulfilling relationship with their children, and the courts agree. If you want to gain custody of your child while on active duty — you can. Yet, there are certain considerations you must adhere to and understand.
Family Care Plan
You must have a family care plan in place. A family care plan is a blueprint that details how your child will be taken care of in the event your military service takes you away, such as during deployment.
Everything must be included in the document, from the name of the person who will care for the child, to how the child will be transported to the person, to what type of childcare and financial arrangements will be made during their time with another adult. The court will require this information before you can complete any child custody process.
In the military, service members typically move every few years or so. For children with certain medical conditions, this type of moving can be problematic, as there might not be a certain specialist or medical provider in every location to treat the child with the best level of care.
In this scenario, the service member could hit a roadblock in their custody battle. Based on your military occupation specialty code, or MOS, you may be able to determine which bases you are most likely to be stationed at. If so, use this information to research treatment options in each area so that you can present this information to the courts.
The courts believe that interaction with both parents is important to a child's care unless there is abuse or neglect on the part of the other parent. Given the lack of a true home base with the military lifestyle, you might need to show the courts how you will work to maintain the child's connection with the other parent while they are in your custody.
For example, establishing a plan for how the child will be able to video chat with the other parent or makes trips to see them during the summer, while you're stationed overseas, can be helpful to your case.
If you want to gain custody of your children, now is the time to react. An attorney, like those at New Direction Family Law, will review the specifics of your case and compare your status to state guidelines to help you establish the best pathway forward.