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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Child custody for military couples

Separating parents in Tennessee may go through a complicated period after a decision to divorce is made but before it is final. During this time, they may not have a permanent custody arrangement in place. Before they make an agreement, they have equal custody rights. However, it is best for the children if parents put some kind of routine in place.

Whatever custody agreement the parents agree to at this stage, it should allow children to have time with both parents. This may not amount to 50/50, but the contact with each parent should be regular. Parents may need to be flexible at this stage as they and their children adjust to the new schedule. This could mean that sometimes a parent may need to take the child on a weekend that is not planned if the other parent has a conflict. Communication is also important at this stage so that parents know when the child is supposed to be picked up on any given day.

Parents should keep the child's needs in mind. This means taking into account what kind of arrangement will be the least disruptive for the child. For example, if one parent is in the military, that parent may have a work schedule that is not flexible or deployments that make being the custodial parent impractical.

Parents may want to create an official agreement that addresses potential co-parenting issues. Older children may want to have some input into this. There are other elements that couples involved in the military need to keep in mind when getting a divorce. For example, after a couple has been married for a certain amount of time, the nonmilitary spouse might be entitled to draw a pension.

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