Divorce can be difficult for any couple, but the inclusion of children into the element can make things a bit more complicated — particularly if one parent is in the military.
Arranging for child visitation can be difficult, especially if the military person is deployed overseas or resides in another state.
How does civilian and service member divorce compare?
Custody and visitation agreements are fairly similar for parents across the board.
Parents who live in the same general can generally be more flexible regarding their child custody schedules. Parents who communicate well with one another may even designate the noncustodial parent as the “sitter of first choice.” This designation requires the custodial parent to call their co-parent first if they need a babysitter.
Structured visitation agreements may work best when divorced couples do not live close to each other or have strained communication. Structured agreements may give specific pick-up and drop-off times for the children and detail where those tradeoffs will occur. Structured agreements may also specify what happens if a parent misses their visitation appointment or schedules need to be changed.
Where custody and visitation agreements take a bit of a turn for military parents, however, is that regular visitation times may not be possible during the service member’s out-of-state deployment. Visitation may have to take place on holidays or summer vacations or may involve virtual visitations via phone calls and video. Virtual visitations might be an acceptable substitution during a parent’s deployment overseas, as well.
If a military parent is deployed and will be unable to utilize their visitation, they may also need to designate a stand-in, such as another relative, to stay in touch with the children. The military parent may also want to arrange for make-up time with their children once they return from deployment.
Determining what custodial arrangement is best for your family
Any custody agreement that you and your co-parent agree to should champion what is in your child’s best interest. A service member’s involvement in the military presents unique challenges to visitation. Please review some of the parenting plans discussed on our website to learn more.