As a military service member, you may feel anxiety when you have primary custody of your children due to possible deployments. You may feel concerned that your former spouse will gain full custody of your children.
Therefore, these are some things you should know about custody arrangements during deployments.
Your parenting plan
In Tennessee, you had to sign a parenting plan when you completed your divorce proceedings or sued for custody of your children. This plan stands even when you get deployed. Therefore, you can choose who will care for your children during these periods. Unfortunately, parenting plans can change, and your former spouse can petition for physical custody while you are away.
Changing custody orders
Your former spouse will not gain custody if he or she gave up custody rights or the court declared this parent unfit. If a judge restricted your ex’s rights at all, it is unlikely that he or she will gain physical custody even during your deployments.
However, if your former spouse gains custody, you may have difficulty regaining it when you get back if your children have safe, healthy home lives, get involved in the neighborhood or community or their academic performance.
What you can do
To protect your custody rights, you can work with your former spouse and a judge to create custody arrangements for your deployments. You should determine who gets physical custody and that custody reverts to you immediately upon your return. However, make sure you detail everything about the custody transfer in the document, including the dates of your departure and return and legal matters like education.
Remember that judges care about your children’s best interest, and they will change custody orders to ensure that your children are safe and cared for properly.