Hartley Law Office, LLC

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Child visitation plans for divorced service members

For divorced parents in the Dayton who serve in the military, child custody arrangements can be tricky to navigate. What, for other ex-spouses, may be a straightforward matter of a physical custody and visitation schedule can raise a number of difficult questions for couples in a military divorce. We will take a look at some of those questions this week, with the understanding that the information is intended not as specific legal advice, but also as a general background on military divorce only.

Challenges arise when attempting to implement a military child visitation plan when one parent, for example, is called to serve in a different state. When shorter, weekly visits are not feasible, they may need to be made up with longer, weekend-long visits or extended visits over holidays and summer vacations. Virtual visitation is also an option today, with readily available video chat apps, and can often help avoid disrupting a court-approved visitation schedule when one parent is out of state.

An overseas deployment raises further questions. Some military parents on deployment will assign their visitation time to their stateside relatives. Instead of visitation with the deployed parent, the child would spend that time with his or her grandparents, aunts or uncles or other close relatives on that parent's side.

Ultimately, military ex-spouses may find that trying to stick to their visitation plan is just no longer feasible. A legal professional can assist parents seeking a modification of a visitation agreement that will better reflect the reality of their situation. It is important that a modification go through the formal process and obtain approval by a court to avoid the potential legal consequences of deviating from a previously-approved plan.

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