Navigating Child Custody Matters in the Military

military mom

Tips for Military Parents

Child custody matters can be complex, and additional challenges arise when one or both parents are serving in the military. Military service often involves frequent relocations, deployments, and unpredictable schedules, making it crucial for parents to understand how their military obligations may affect child custody arrangements.

Keep reading for insights into how military service may affect child custody arrangements.

Tip #1: Understand the SCRA

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law devised to protect military service members' rights during periods of active duty. One key area it covers is child custody arrangements. During deployment or active duty, the SCRA can help ensure that military members do not lose permanent custody of their children solely due to their military duties.

The SCRA contains provisions that can delay court proceedings that involve permanent child custody disputes. This allows military parents to participate fully in the legal process, ensuring that decisions are not made in their absence. It also provides protection against permanent custody changes ordered while the military member is deployed.

If you're a military member with children facing a divorce or separation, understanding the SCRA and its implications on child custody is vital. It ensures your military service does not negatively affect your child custody rights, allowing you to maintain a meaningful relationship with your children irrespective of your service duties.

Tip #2: Essential Components of a Parenting Plan for Military Parents

All parents divorcing or entering custody orders in Colorado are required to submit a parenting plan to the state. In a nutshell, this parenting plan acts as a blueprint for how the co-parents will make decisions for their child and their visitation schedule. The information included in a parenting plan will cover everything from how the child's financial needs will be met to where and how the child will be educated to holiday sharing guidelines.

Crafting an effective parenting plan as a military parent necessitates a thorough understanding of both the demands of military life and your children's needs.

The following are some components you should consider including in your plan:

  • Clear Visitation Schedule: This should specify when each parent will spend time with the children. This schedule should be flexible enough to accommodate changes due to military obligations and include provisions for when parents are deployed or are on active duty.
  • Communication Methods: With potential deployments in various time zones and countries, it's crucial to outline how and when each parent will communicate with the children. Information about what will be done when a parent cannot be reached or in an area where communication is difficult should be included.
  • Contingency Plans: Develop plans for unexpected events, such as sudden deployment or changes in work schedule. This should include a system for notifying the other parent about these changes as soon as possible.
  • Relocation Provisions: In the event of a relocation, the plan should indicate how the child custody and visitation schedules will be adjusted.
  • Third-Party Mediator: It may be helpful to identify a trusted third-party mediator who can help resolve conflicts that may arise in implementing the plan. Similarly, an outline of other dispute-resolution methods preferred by the parents is also worth including when appropriate.

By considering these elements, your parenting plan will be well-equipped to handle the unique challenges of military service and ensure the best possible arrangement for your children.

Tip #3: Stay Focused on Your Child's Best Interests

When determining child custody arrangements, family courts prioritize the best interests of the child. Military parents should proactively address how their service may impact their child's well-being. Just as importantly, there should also be clear, open discussions on how the military service member’s relationship with their child will be fostered and supported despite the challenges of their job.

When considering custody, maintaining strong relationships with the child, ensuring stability during transitions, and providing a supportive environment are all factors that courts consider. Working with a skilled family law attorney experienced in handling military service member’s cases can be highly beneficial when preparing compelling arguments demonstrating your commitment to your child's best interests.

Tip #4: Seeking Professional Legal Counsel:

Navigating child custody matters in the military can be overwhelming, especially when facing complex legal procedures. Seeking professional legal counsel from the team at the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. can provide you with invaluable support and guidance. Our experienced attorneys deeply understand the unique challenges faced by military families, and we have a track record of providing military families with compassionate yet strong legal guidance.

We are here to assist you in all custody-related matters and have worked with clients from all military branches. Give us a call or send us a message to schedule a confidential consultation.

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