When one parent is in the military, deciding on a child custody arrangement can become complex. There are many factors to consider, such as how to provide the child with the most permanent home, how to arrange custody when an active military member may be deployed at any time and other concerns.
Some military members worry that they will not have custody of their kids because of their role in the military, but that’s not true. Many people, especially when they are active but not deployed, have normal custody arrangements where they see their children regularly. In some instances, the military member can have primary custody, too.
In some cases, a judge may determine that it’s better for primary custody to be given to a civilian parent who is unlikely to deploy. However, that’s not guaranteed. How you divide your children’s time between yourself and your ex-spouse following your divorce should be thoroughly discussed; a judge won’t necessarily make that decision.
Questions to consider
When you and your spouse talk about how to divide custody, make a point to speak about what happens if you are deployed. Who will you have as your emergency contact? Where should the children be taken, or who should pick them up? Do you have a backup emergency contact in case the civilian parent can’t be reached? Knowing what happens in that kind of situation will help you decide if it’s better for your children to be in a civilian parent’s care most of the time or if it’s still appropriate to share custody 50-50 or have alternative arrangements.
Child custody is always complex, but your attorney will be happy to help you work through your concerns as you set up a custody schedule that works for you.