If you or your spouse are member of the U.S. military, you no doubt pride yourself on readiness. From basic training onward, service members are taught the value of preparedness and to be ready for unexpected changes and crisis issues in life. While you might not have a solution for an unexpected turn of events, “expecting the unexpected” helps you to be ready to take action as needed, whether it is a matter of national security or a personal issue.
A military career might take you or your spouse away from the family household for an extended period of time. A family care plan is a valuable tool that includes information and instructions about caregivers and child-related issues to help keep your family safe and well at all times. If you happen to divorce, you can incorporate terms of your family care plan into your child custody agreement.
Priority issues in a family care plan
Your family’s needs may be different from a fellow service member’s family; however, there are several main topics that most service members address in their family care plans. The following list includes these topics:
- Daily routines and household rules
- Medical information
- A list of close contacts
- Instructions for navigating a military installation
- Location of important documents
- Important information regarding dependent IDs
You can incorporate additional topics into your family care plan at will, such as restrictions against certain activities or people who may wish to have contact with your children while you’re away.
How your family care plan can be helpful in a divorce
If you’re deployed overseas and are going through a divorce or have recently finalized a child custody agreement, your deployment may raise certain issues may arise that your family care plan may help resolve. For instance, if you’re a custodial parent and are sent overseas, instructions regarding short-term or long-term care of your children may be written in your family care plan.
Approved caregivers listed in a military family care plan must be civilians who have signed the agreement, accepting all responsibility stated therein to provide care for your children while you’re away. This can be helpful if you and your ex do not share custody and you’re the custodial parent, in which case, the court may determine it best for a listed caregiver to assume legal guardianship rather than changing custody orders for the non-custodial parent to assume full custody.