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Creating a visitation plan in military divorce may be challenging

Sunday, June 24, 2018

In addition to the stumbling blocks associated with child visitation after a divorce, military parents in Texas commonly have to deal with additional issues. When creating a visitation plan in a military divorce, attention must be paid to potential transfers to other states, even deployment to other countries. In these circumstances unstructured visitation plans in which visitation is worked out between parents to suit the circumstances may be more effective than structured plans that may not be practical. Although child custody is governed by the state, addressing these issues in the visitation plan may avoid arguments at the time when a parent is deployed or transferred.

Remedies can be included for times when one parent is transferred to another state, causing weekly visitations to be missed. One way to ensure the transferred parent spends a fair amount of time with the child is to allow extended visits over summer vacation or Christmas. Transportation costs and each parent's responsibilities related to transporting the child to train stations or airports can be stipulated in the custody agreement. Virtual visitation arrangements can also be included in the visitation plan.

When a parent is deployed to another country and personal visits are not possible, a military parent may assign his or her visitation hours to a close relative. If the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child, the child can spend that time with a grandparent, aunt or uncle with whom there is an existing close relationship. Judges may also reschedule additional visitation hours to the parent upon his or her return to make up for missed hours.

Texas parents who are going through a military divorce must keep in mind that a visitation plan is part of a custody agreement, and modifications must be authorized by the court. Verbal agreements may lead to contention and even litigation in the future and are best avoided. Discussing visitation plans and modifications with an experienced military family law attorney may ensure a schedule that will be acceptable to all parties without jeopardizing the best interests of the child.

Source: Findlaw, "Military Child Visitation: What You Need to Know", Accessed on July 23, 2015

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