Active-duty status in the military can mean that your life is unpredictable. You may not know where you will be in a few weeks or next year. The military lifestyle can take a toll on your marriage, but just because you’re going through a divorce while in the military doesn’t mean your relationship with your children isn’t important.

Military parents going through a divorce have unique considerations when it comes to child custody and visitation that demand creative solutions and flexibility from both parents. Especially in the event of a deployment, working together can be important for the children, who will experience both the stress of their parent’s divorce and the stress of a parental deployment.

Updating your Family Care Plan can help you start a conversation

In order to optimally protect dependents on military service members, anyone who could get deployed will need to have a Family Care Plan. This important plan includes an explanation of the custody arrangements in the event of a deployment.

You can use the obligation to file a new plan as a means to broach a difficult topic with your ex, namely what will happen if you get deployed. You can also discuss how the divorce will impact your benefits, like housing and health insurance, and discuss ways to make custody work for your whole family.

Plan for now and for future changes

In-depth parenting plans or custody orders all too often focus solely on the current situation for the family, requiring modifications anytime major changes occur. Particularly if you and your ex choose to file an uncontested divorce or to go through mediation, you may be able to work together to set more comprehensive terms that shift with your obligations at work.

Having different parenting plan rules for deployments versus when you are stationed at a domestic military base can help you maximize the amount of time you spend with your children regardless of how your employment situation shifts.

Protect your right to connect digitally when you can’t be together physically

Whether you wind up deployed overseas or simply transferred to a base out of state, your military career could mean that you won’t be living close to your children all the time.

Enshrining either specific amounts of telephone conversation time or time for digital visitation in your parenting plan will benefit everyone during a deployment. Digital visitation, also called virtual visitation, takes place on video chat platforms and can help ensure that you continue to nurture your relationship with the children regardless of your physical location.