All good parents want to do what's best for their children. For parents in the military, especially those going through a divorce, this can mean taking an important, and sometimes needed, step.
Because deployments can separate parents from their children for a long time, the military encourages service members to create a family care plan ahead of each deployment. If you end up with sole or shared custody of your child or children after a divorce, you will find that setting a plan stops being an option and becomes a requirement.
What is required?
Family care plan requirements will vary with your branch of service, but each requires you to choose:
- A short-term caretaker: This should be someone who lives near your family, can be called upon at any time and is not a member of the military, although a military spouse is fine.
- A long-term caretaker: This is the person who will take care of your dependents in the case of a long deployment.
- Care provision details: This is information needed to support your children's many unique needs. It can include vital details such as transportation arrangements for your children or caregiver, medical information, power of attorney, bed-time routines or anything else to make the change easier.
This is an extra step to military divorce that doesn't exist in civilian life, but it doesn't have to be a burden.
Take a step that leads toward greater peace of mind
Just developing a family care plan forces you to think deeply about your family and how to best ensure healthy, happy lives for your kids even when you can't be with them. It can be hard to do but, if you're feeling overwhelmed, you have resources. You can seek help from your military legal assistance office or from the civil lawyer representing your custody interests.