Divorce and child custody matters are never easy. When you have to deal with these things while you are serving in the military, the difficulties increase. Yet this is the reality for some members of the military.
Service men and women have special considerations when they are in the midst of family law issues. It is imperative that you think carefully about both of the points below.
#1: Military life and child custody
Child custody and military life might not seem like they will work together. However, it is very possible to make this arrangement work. You will have to come up with a child care plan for when your child is with you. This is true whether you have primary custody or only visitation.
If your child is going to be with your permanently or for extended periods, you will need to file a family care plan with your commanding officer. This plan lays out what will happen if you are deployed or if something happens to you. You need a local person who can care for your child for up to a month. You also need a person who can care for your child for longer than 30 days. The long-term person doesn’t have to reside in the area of your duty station.
You also need to think about what you are going to do to remain in your child’s life when you aren’t able to see your child in person. Virtual visitation might be the answer here since you would rely on video chats and similar methods to see your child.
#2: 20/20/20 rule
The 20/20/20 rule has to do with what your ex will get if you divorce. In order to qualify for the provisions of the 20/20/20 rule, which includes remaining on TRICARE and possibly obtaining a percentage of your retirement benefits, your ex must meet the three 20s. These include:
- The marriage lasted 20 years
- You have 20 years in the military
- 20 years of marriage overlapped 20 years of service
If all three of these are met, you should find out how your divorce might be impacted.
No matter how long you have served or what circumstances are present in your divorce, you need to make sure that you protect your rights. This can include making sure you file in the right jurisdiction and finding out what options you have for various aspects of the divorce.