People who are in the military often worry about what is going to happen if they have children. There are many misconceptions about people in the service and child custody. Most often, people assume that those who are serving can’t have custody of their children. This isn’t the case. You can remain in the military and have your children with you as long as you plan carefully.
Regardless of your service status, the court has to believe that having the children with you is in their best interests. The branch you are in will ask that you complete a family care plan, which is called a family care certification in some cases. Here are some points to remember about this plan:
You may need 2 guardians listed
In most cases, you need a short-term guardian who lives close to your current duty station. This person should be able to get to the children quickly when the need arises and should be able to care for them for up to 30 days. You also need a person who can care for them long-term.
This guardian doesn’t need to live close by as they can get the children from the short-term guardian. It is sometimes possible to have the same person named as both. They must sign the plan as an acknowledgement that they will handle things if the time comes.
Provide important details
You should provide as much information about the child’s routine and life as you can. This includes their information for school and extracurricular activities, as well as medical care. Anything that you think the guardians need to know should be spelled out in the plan. If you don’t need to include it in the actual plan, write out a document for home so the person can have it, if necessary.
Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System
Your children must be registered with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. This enables them to get an identification card that will allow the guardian to visit the commissary if they have a letter from your commanding officer, a power of attorney designation and the child’s identification card. The guardian can also enter a military facility with these documents.
Plan for medical care
If your children have any special medical needs, outline these. Leave a list of each child’s doctor and other medical professionals that they see. Try to always keep a list of current doctors’ appointments so the guardian can get the children to them if you are called away before they occur. Be sure to have a copy of the insurance cards handy.
Making sure that you have everything in order is a good idea even if your custody plan will enable you to have the children on a part-time basis. This planning shows that you have the child’s best interests at heart.