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If you are member of the U.S. military, you likely have a family care plan. If you haven’t executed such documents yet, you’ll want to be aware that the family care plan is a key factor in providing for your children and family while you fulfill deployment obligations overseas. Perhaps you are one of many military service members who are preparing for divorce. As such, you may want to incorporate your family care plan as part of your co-parenting agreement.

Getting divorced can be stressful, even for civilians. For those in the military, it can be especially challenging to balance family life with service duties. When a married couple determines their relationship cannot withstand the strain, divorce often results. As you work toward an amicable settlement with your spouse, your family care plan can help you make sure your children’s best interests are the central focus of all proceedings.

Legal documents and personal instructions

Many military parents want their kids to maintain a sense of normalcy as much as possible when they are away, serving on active duty overseas. The following list includes various related issues that can be helpful to that end:

  • You can sign a power of attorney that allows another person to act on your behalf to register your children for school or obtain medical care for them, as needed, while you’re away.
  • You can designate someone to provide short-term or long-term care for your children in case you deploy. Two different people typically fulfill these roles.
  • Your family care plan can include personal instructions regarding daily life routines or other rules pertaining to your children’s care while you’re absent.

If you deploy as a custodial parent, you will likely have to inform your co-parent ahead of time, if your children will be under the care of a non-parent while you’re away. Your family care plan can never oppose an existing court order. In other words, the terms of your care plan must coincide with the judge’s orders. If you need to change your custody plan, you must seek the court’s approval first.

Disciplinary, administrative or legal action

In the military, you can incur disciplinary or administrative penalties for failing to produce a family care plan as required. In court, a judge can hold you in contempt if you act against an existing court order. This is why it is critical that you make sure your family care plan aligns with your co-parenting agreement. If a legal problem arises at any time, you can reach out for support from a Virginia attorney who is well-versed in military divorce issues.