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Child custody considerations in a military divorce

Military families in New Mexico face unique challenges not faced by civilians. Deployment and frequent relocation can take a toll, and for some, divorce results. If the couple has children, this means that they will enter into a child custody and visitation agreement.

When the parents live near one another, it is relatively easy to establish an agreement. However, if a military parent has to relocate, far away from the child's home state, this can interfere with an existing child custody and visitation agreement.

In these situations, longer visitation periods may be better, such as having the child live with the non-custodial military parent over summer break. Virtual visitation, using email, texting and video chat can be useful in such situations, or even if the non-custodial parent is deployed.

Deployment also presents different child custody and visitation challenges. A deployed non-custodial parent has some options if virtual visitation or in-person visitation is not possible. One option is to have a relative that the deployed parent is close to have visitation time with the child.

Another option for some is to let the deployed parent have additional visitation time prior to and following the parent's deployment. Parents who anticipate that one of them will be deployed can provide for such situations in the child custody and visitation agreement. Doing so helps all parties know what to expect, which could lessen the amount of stress such situations can cause.

In the end, even if a military couple's marriage does not last, they may still be able to enter into a child custody and visitation agreement that meets everyone's needs. But, because a military divorce can be more complicated than a civilian divorce, it may be in everyone's best interests to seek the help of an attorney before agreeing to anything.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Military Child Visitation: What You Need to Know," accessed on June 25, 2017

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