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Can I have primary custody of my kids as a military member?

There’s a false idea floating around about child custody as it applies to military parents. It’s that military service members cannot maintain primary custody of their children. This is not true.

As long as you create a shared parenting plan that honors the needs of both parents and the best interests of your children, as a military service member, you can get approval for the primary custody you desire. Courts will be strict when reviewing your plan, however, so you may want to get help from a qualified legal professional when creating your child custody arrangements.

Here are a few things you’ll want to take into account when creating this parenting plan for your child:

  • How old your children are
  • Planning for periods of deployment
  • Planning for returns from deployment
  • How visitation schedules will be handled in the event that the service member requires out-of-state and out-of-country deployment
  • Future possibilities as your child continues to grow

You’ll want to keep in mind that your parenting plan will not be set in stone. In other words, it may need to change due to changing circumstances related to your life, the life of your spouse and the lives of your children. For example, a new job, a remarriage, your health, your child’s health and your child’s age all could have an effect on your parenting plan.

Military divorces are not the same as regular divorces. Therefore, if you’re a military service member planning to separate from your spouse, you may want to talk about your situation with an experienced Tennessee family law attorney who has experienced representing members of the military in their divorce proceedings.

Source: The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky, “Custody and Child Support,” accessed July 14, 2017


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