Being in the military means your life and work schedule are inherently unpredictable. You may be sent away for training or deployment with little notice. If you’re going through a divorce, you may be worried about what this means for your custody.
It’s important to understand that there are laws in place to protect deployed parents’ rights to child custody. Being deployed cannot be a reason for a court to alter your custody arrangement. However, during your deployment, you naturally won’t be able to spend the same time as usual with your children. But you may still have options available to you:
Designating visitation rights to another person
Just because you are away and unable to see your children in person doesn’t mean that your co-parent will necessarily get full custody. You have the option to designate another family member – perhaps a grandparent or adult sibling – to take your visitation time while you’re away.
Visiting with your kids virtually is becoming increasingly common option. This involves planned visits with your kids curing your deployment – using video calling services such as Skype or Zoom. The laws around virtual visitation are still evolving, so it’s worth discussing this option with a family law attorney.
While virtual visitation can help you to maintain contact with your kids while you’re away, they don’t make up for spending extended time together in person. Scheduling make-up visitation hours upon your return – or before your deployment – may be an option.
Deployment is difficult on the entire family. A family lawyer experienced in military divorce cases can help you explore ways of maintaining a close bond with your children during this time.