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Child custody and the military

If you or your ex-spouse are in the military, child custody is different and presents more complications because of things such as transfers and deployment. If you live in Ohio, the ideal thing you can do is discuss with your ex the best situation for your children and come to an agreement together. If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, the court can intervene and make a custody agreement that works best. 

According to FindLaw, a custody agreement in a military family is similar to one in civilian families. Each parent, and/or a judge, considers factors, such as needs of the children, current living situation and each parent's ability to provide a safe and loving home, to decide what is the best living situation for each child. However, military couples have an added factor to consider, which is the probability of transferring to another base or deployment to the battleground. Because of this, parents often include provisions that relate to these circumstances.

If both parents are in the military, they should make a family care plan that outlines what happens if both parents are in deployment. It includes a short-term and long-term caretaker as well as detailed instructions about daily care.

Because of the potential complications associated with military divorce, the National Conference of State Legislatures discusses the Uniformed Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, which outlines protections for military parents. Some of the issues the Act addresses include

  • Prohibiting the court from using deployment as a factor in custody and the child's best interest
  • Allowing parents to make decisions outside of the court during deployment
  • Prohibits a permanent custody decision without the consent of the parent who is on deployment


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