Arranging child visitation time while serving active military duty can be difficult. Rest assured, there are ways you can stay connected to your child when you aren’t sure when and where your service will take you.

1. Strive for a flexible schedule

Many parents normally split up parenting time between holidays, vacations and the day-to-day week, but military parents can’t always stick to these schedules. It’s not uncommon to face deployment or relocation and because of this, military members can’t depend on a consistence schedule or a permanent place to live.

However, it is possible to arrange adjustable visitation plans that accommodate an inconsistent schedule. Instead of setting specific dates for parenting time, establish a certain number of days or hours that you will spend with your child each month.

You can also schedule summer, winter or fall vacations for longer periods of time to help even out the amount of time you and your ex spend with your child.

2. Rely on other methods of communication

Unfortunately, even planning flexible schedules cannot keep deployment at bay. If you cannot physically visit your child, there are other ways to connect, including:

  • Phone calls
  • Video chats
  • Email
  • Text messaging
  • Letting writing

Plan ahead of your deployment by writing phone time into your schedule. That way, you can still maintain a routine with your child while you’re away. If you are unable to arrange a time, plan to write emails or letters to your child. This allows you to stay connected with your child when you are short of time.

To make the most of this virtual time together, try to make it engaging. Playing games, sharing photographs and reading stories are a few ways to spend phone and video calls together. For email and letter exchanges, try including puzzles or other activities to encourage your child to write back.

When it comes down to it, your military status should not stop you from planning plenty of visitation time with your child. In fact, under Tennessee law, your military membership cannot be the sole reason to deny you parenting time. With careful planning and negotiating, there are ways for you to arrange time to spend with your child, even as an active member of the military.