If you are one of many Ohio residents who also serve our nation's military, you may share the concerns of others regarding potential child custody problems and other issues if you are deployed. Like most parents, it's only natural that you worry about your kids from time to time; such anxiety often escalates for those serving overseas.
Nowadays, it's not uncommon for a service member to deploy two or three times in a single career. If you know this is a possibility and you do your research ahead of time, you may be able to create as smooth as possible of a transition for your children and also protect your parental rights while you're away.
Always be prepared
Military parents must execute a prepared parenting plan before serving on active military duty. The following list includes basic facts about the process:
- This plan is to include a non-military person, designated as a short-term caretaker for children of an activated service member.
- This person should reside close to base and must be available at any time (day or night) if needed.
- The prepared parenting plan should also include a long-term caretaker for children, in case of extended deployment.
- You should also write down any specific care instructions, as well as personal information regarding computer passwords, bank account numbers and any medical treatment instructions necessary.
- Like the short-term care provider, the person you choose to provide long-term care for your children is not to be a member of the U.S. military.
For those who are divorced, a military deployment should in no way negatively affect a parent's custody arrangement. If the non-deployed (or non-military) parent is not named as a caretaker, he or she must offer consent to the choices made, in writing.
Where to seek support
Serving the nation in the armed forces is a noble career. The last thing you need is to worry that you might lose custody of your children or that decisions will be made without your input while you're serving overseas. Connecting to the following people may provide you all the support you need:
- An experienced Ohio family law attorney who understands the special needs and issues pertaining to parents in the military would be a good resource to tap into if a problem arises while on active duty.
- Other parents who have dealt with child custody or visitation issues in the military may be able to share their experiences and provide suggestions for ways you can minimize potential stress.
- You can check to see if your particular military unit offers support for parents in your situation.
With appropriate guidance and proactive interest, you may be able to avoid potential problems and provide optimum care for your children while serving a deployment.