If you are in the military and face deployment, the parenting plan you create during your divorce must reflect this possibility. A military parenting plan is an agreement you and your former spouse make to provide a stable, healthy environment for your children during periods of deployment and other transitions.
Your military parenting plan should cover the same topics any other parenting plan outlines for non-military families. For example, you should include basic information about your custody arrangement, a visitation schedule that details vacations and holidays, medical coverage and costs, childcare arrangements and costs and preferable communication methods.
Your custody plan for periods of deployment should also cover unique topics typically not found in a standard parenting plan, including:
- Visitations scheduled in accordance with any leave periods
- Details on travel before and after deployment
- Steps to follow to provide your children with as much stability as possible
- What should happen after your deployment ends to restore your original custody arrangement
- Who can visit your children during deployment and who can take over parental responsibilities temporarily for you during these periods
- The best way to contact you during deployment
Additionally, you should look over and edit your parenting plan before each planned deployment. Take into account your current parenting schedule, the ages of your children and what worked well during any previous deployments when creating an ideal parenting arrangement before the date of your deployment arrives.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides you with protection from certain legal actions during periods of deployment. Even though your child custody arrangement may look different during deployment, your former spouse cannot make major changes to your prior custody status while you are overseas under this act. As you create your military parenting plan, you can reference the SCRA to prevent your ex-spouse from changing your child custody status during deployment.