If you are a military service member who resides in Maryland, you might already have a Family Care Plan (FCP) in place. An FCP has several purposes, but it is primarily used to help military parents provide for their children’s needs while they are away on active duty. If you happen to be considering filing for a divorce, having an FCP in place might make child custody proceedings a lot less stressful.
Especially if your relationship with your ex tends to be contentious, the more you get in writing for a child custody agreement, the better. It is challenging enough to serve overseas while worrying about your children back home without having a former spouse trying to stir up legal problems in the meantime.
Incorporate lots of details into your FCP and child custody agreement
When you file for divorce, you will be making many decisions that are relevant to your children, such as whether you will share custody with your ex or request sole custody. One of the issues that is often included in a FCP, is who should take custody of children while their military parent is serving a deployment. If you are the custodial parent after a divorce, the person designated may or may not be your co-parent.
Children fare best with a sense of normalcy and routine
Military kids are typically resilient and used to adapting to changes associated with their parents’ service in the armed forces. However, just like children with civilian parents, divorce causes disruption in a child’s life and also has emotional implications. You can incorporate details in your FCP that can help your kids maintain a sense of routine in their daily life as they come to terms with your divorce, especially if you have to leave to serve a deployment.
Including information, such as contact numbers, names, etc., for healthcare providers, babysitters, extended family members, counselors and more gives the person taking care of your kid while you are away quick access to a support network if they need it. You can also include instructions regarding things like bed time, who may drive your children places or any other daily life issue you feel is important.
If child custody problems arise while you are away
The Service Members Civil Relief Act protects you from child custody litigation while serving a deployment or when your military service prevents you from being able to attend proceedings in person. It doesn’t guarantee that no child custody issues will arise while you’re away, however. The more thorough of a FCP and child custody agreement you have, the less likely it is that legal problems will arise. If they do, always have advocates’ contact information on hand so that you have quick access to support when needed.