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Is your military family care plan up to date?

Family life in the U.S. military is much the same, yet quite different, from family life in the average civilian Virginia household. If you and your spouse have been raising children in a military lifestyle for some time, you have likely encountered numerous challenges, especially if you've had to relocate or deploy at any time.

Thankfully, the military typically provides strong family support systems to address various types of issues that may arise on the home front while the military member (or members, if both parents are currently serving) carries out his or her duties stateside or overseas. If you, like many civilian couples, have determined that your marital problems are not reparable, you will undoubtedly have to resolve many child-related issues before settling things in court. A solid family care plan is a great asset in such circumstances.

Executing a thorough plan

One of the benefits of a military family care plan is that you can customize your individual plan to meet your family's unique needs and ultimate goals as a military family. Especially as you prepare for divorce, you can include key terms in your family plan that will help provide for the needs of your children as they adapt to a new lifestyle. The following list shows examples of topics you can cover in your plan:

  • Medical information: If you divorce and you or your spouse happen to deploy, the person caring for your kids will need to be able to access medical information if one of them gets sick or needs medical treatment for an injury.
  • Short-term and long-term care providers: Most family care plans include designations that name a person or people who are willing to step in and take custody of your kids if you deploy. The short-term care person and the long-term care person are usually different people.
  • Daily routines: When military parents deploy, as well as in divorce, children fare best if they are able to maintain a sense of normalcy as much as possible. You can write out terms for your kids' school activities, sports and at-home routines that you want them to keep up while you're away. 
  • Document access: You can also include important access information in your family care plan, for any and all documents you think your children's caregiver might need. 

Your caregiver can also use your ID card to shop at the commissary or exchanges. Your commanding officer would typically have to authorize such use. You can change or update your family care plan, as needed. You can also incorporate it into your co-parenting plan during custody proceedings in your divorce.

Make sure you've covered all your bases

Your military service is a high priority in your life, but so are your children. That's why it is so critical to make sure you have addressed any and all issues that pertain to their care, concerning both your divorce and any possible deployments you may have in the future. 

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