Like most divorcing parents, you are likely concerned about how the split will affect your kids. There are ways to minimize the impact and make it as positive as possible, even for military families. First, know that dissolving your marriage may be better for the kids than staying in it. You do not want your children living in a dysfunctional home.
Second, make your custody decisions with the children’s interests in mind. It is possible to minimize the disruption to their lives even though you are subject to constant deployment and relocation. Here are some issues that deserve special consideration as you create your parenting plan.
Flexibility regarding visitation
Massachusetts courts emphasize stable homes and parental involvement. In civilian families, the initial visitation schedule may work until the children grow up and move away. For military parents, the visitation schedule is subject to change at any moment. When you are nearing deployment, you may want extra time with your children. If you are facing relocation, you and your ex may need to re-evaluate where the children will live and how extended school breaks will play out.
You will likely live miles away from your children at some point during your military career. On the plus side, this can mean longer visits with your children and more quality time together. Your children may also appreciate the opportunity to travel. However, this involves a great deal of planning, especially when arranging for minors to travel without a parent. Your parenting plan should outline who is responsible for organizing the trip and which costs fall to which parent.
Communication during absences
You and your ex may want to limit interactions with each other, but you will need to cooperate in order to keep both parents active in the children’s lives. In the parenting plan, determine when your ex will make the kids available for phone calls or video chats. Discuss various communication methods and levels of privacy. Decide who will initiate contact. Create contingencies allowing for time differences and shift work.