Elkouri Heath, PLC


39555 Orchard Hill Place, Suite 215, Novi, MI 48375

Child Custody for Active Duty Service Members

Posted on in Divorce

Novi, Michigan military divorce lawyerIf you are actively serving in the military, getting divorced can be a hassle. It can be quite challenging merely to handle the logistics of getting divorced if you are not able to be present in the same state - or even country - where the divorce is being processed. When you cannot control where you reside, frequent custody exchanges may not be practicable. This can make establishing a workable plan for co-parenting after the divorce tricky. 

Your divorce attorney can generally take on the practical, legal, side of handling your divorce while you are deployed or stationed elsewhere. However, the practical side of making the custody plan you establish in divorce work is likely to fall to you and your ex-spouse. It is important to carefully consider what type of child custody schedule is likely to work well for you, all factors considered. 

Child Custody Options for Military Members

One of the major factors that tends to make co-parenting challenging for members of the armed forces is the likelihood of having to move away or deploy. The physical distance between the active duty spouse and the nonmilitary spouse likely means moving the children back and forth between each parent’s household is likely to be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. The military spouse may need to follow the legal process for relocating with children each time they are ordered to a new base. Further, it is highly unlikely that visitation would be possible at all during any time the service member is deployed. 

Unique options for child custody when one spouse serves in the military include: 

  • Long-term exchanges - Instead of the child spending a week at one parent’s house and then a week at the other’s, military members may wish to exchange custody for longer periods of time. For example, the child may spend the entire school year less holidays with the nonmilitary parent, allowing them to spend the full summer and holidays with the military parent. Some parents even use homeschooling to keep a child’s education consistent during long exchanges. 

  • Making up deployment time - If the military parent deploys, it is wise to include a clause allowing the deployed parent to make up their parenting time later. 

  • Including grandparent time - While the military parent is away, they may be able to arrange for their family members to spend time with the child in their stead. 

  • Move as a unit - If the nonmilitary spouse does not have strong geographic ties to their area, it may make sense for them to follow the military spouse’s job so that both parents are always available to the kids. 

These suggestions may help you discover creative solutions to co-parenting. 

Contact a Northville, MI Divorce Lawyer

Elkouri Heath, PLC is a firm of experienced Novi, MI family law attorneys. We are skilled at helping active duty military members find the right co-parenting solutions. Contact us at 248-344-9700 for a complimentary consultation.

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