Parenting plans help to lay the groundwork for how co-parents can successfully interact with one another and provide for the needs of their children once their romantic relationship has come to an end. Crafting a parenting plan helps to clarify each parent’s rights, responsibilities and expectations concerning their co-parenting relationship.
The terms that they agree to (or that are ordered by a judge in the event of a contested situation) will determine their rights and obligations for the foreseeable future. For families where one of the parents is a current military servicemember, there are often more challenges related to shared custody. Therefore, military families often benefit from including special terms in parenting plans to address known issues that may become challenges for the family in the future.
Virtual visitation and communication terms
Military service may result in a long-term offshore deployment or one parent’s relocation as they continue to pursue their career while the other remains in the community where the children have already established social connections. Whether there is a deployment or a relocation, frequent communication with the parent who is not with the children can preserve their relationship with the kids. Virtual visitation might include video calling, text messaging, cooperatively playing games online and even email communication between a parent and their children when they are not able to see each other physically.
Special rescheduling rules
Military servicemembers may find that their schedule changes unexpectedly sometimes and may therefore require a bit more flexibility from their co-parent. Working in rules to the parenting plan that allow a service member to reschedule lost parenting time when they cancel due to service-related reasons is beneficial. Standard parenting plans usually do not allow the person who cancels or shortens their own parenting time to demand make up time with the children.
Special terms that require consideration and flexibility from the other parent can go a long way toward protecting the right of a military parent to spend plenty of time with their children and to invest in their lives when they can’t be around. Proactively adding thoughtful terms to a parenting plan can help stave off a lot of conflict and may lead to a healthier and more positive co-parenting relationship during and after a military divorce.