Like most California parents, your life may often be busy, making it a challenge to keep up with your daily tasks and duties, not to mention maintain active, healthy relationships with your kids. As a member of the U.S. military, you are definitely no stranger to personal sacrifice and probably encounter various challenges in trying to balance your career obligations with family life. If a divorce or non-marriage situation is creating custody problems, your family care plan may be your greatest asset to rectify the problem.
Single parents cannot enter the military; however, if you enlisted first and then became a single parent, that’s another story. Whether your particular situation involves divorce or single parenthood, you no doubt want to find the swiftest, least stressful solution possible. Your children’s best interests are of paramount importance, especially while you’re deployed. Knowing how to protect your parental rights and where to turn for support if a problem arises while you’re serving active duty can help you provide for your children during separation.
Execute a thorough plan ahead of time
Your life in the military no doubt includes many rules, regulations and ceremonial requirements to which you must adhere at all times lest you be at risk for disciplinary action. There’s one area, however, where you are free to make your own decisions and choices — to customize a plan that best fits your family’s needs. The following information explains the importance of creating a thorough family care plan:
- Serving an active duty overseas can be stressful as well as dangerous, in certain situations. The less you have to worry about trouble arising on the home front while you’re deployed, the better. Your family care plan allows you to leave specific instructions regarding the care of your children, so you leave no stone unturned while you’re away.
- You may address emotional, physical, health-related, spiritual or financial issues in your FCP. In fact, you may include any item you consider important to your children’s well-being while you’re gone.
- The two most basic components of an FCP are designated short-term and long-term care providers. Those designated are non-military service members who agree to be ready to step in at any time to take custody of and care for your children when your military service calls you away from home.
- If there’s an existing court order regarding child custody in your family, it’s best to make sure your FCP coincides with any and all mandates contained therein to avoid legal problems down the line.
Your family care provider can access many military resources to help things run smoothly in your absence. If you’re worried about a particular custody matter, you can take comfort in knowing there are laws to protect you against custody-related litigation if you cannot be present in the courtroom due to deployment.
Tap into immediate support networks when needed
If there’s ever a time when you need immediate guidance or support related to child custody or other legal issues concerning your children while you’re away on active duty, there are California family law advocates available, experienced in addressing military family law issues.