Serving your country as a member of the U.S. military out of Virginia is a noble decision and can be a rewarding experience, albeit not without its challenges and sacrifices. It’s no secret that it can be difficult to balance a military career with family life, especially if you have several children. Some marriages crumble under the pressure of it all, and one or the other spouse winds up filing for divorce.
It’s important to remember that the same can be true for civilian marriages, as well. Any number of issues can arise that create an unresolvable rift between spouses. While divorce isn’t easy for any family — military or civilian — you might encounter certain issues in a military divorce that wouldn’t be relevant to civilians.
You can incorporate a military family care plan into a child custody agreement
A military family care plan is a document that enables you to make sure you can provide for your children if the military deploys you on active duty. Such provisions include logistics, financial matters, health issues and more. If you’re granted primary custody of your kids in a divorce, there should be clear terms written out regarding who will step in as a custodial guardian in your place while you’re away. This doesn’t necessarily have to be your former spouse.
As you negotiate your divorce settlement, you can incorporate your military family care plan into your child custody agreement. You might have terms of agreement in place for when you and your co-parent are both stateside, in your individual homes, and specific terms of agreement may take effect if you face deployment on active duty.
You are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
If you are serving a deployment overseas, your ex cannot attempt to change your child custody order. In fact, no legal proceedings may take place regarding your children if you are unable to attend proceedings in person due to military deployment. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act was signed into law to protect parental rights of military servicemembers.
Your children’s best interests should be a central focus of all proceedings
Children who have a parent in the military often have to adapt to unexpected changes in their lives, such as relocation. Divorce can be difficult for kids; however, they tend to bounce back and cope in a healthy manner when they know their parents love them and continue to provide for their emotional, physical and financial needs. It’s understandable that you would want your children’s needs to be a primary focus of divorce proceedings.
It’s also understandable that you might be concerned about certain issues regarding care of your children in conjunction with time you might have to spend away from them because of your duties in the U.S. military. It’s helpful to speak with someone who is well-versed in Virginia divorce laws, as well as issues that pertain to military parents. The more you learn ahead of time, the better able you might be to make informed decisions and to resolve any legal problems that might arise while you’re fulfilling a deployment overseas.