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Military family care plans in child custody determinations, P.1

We have spoken in previous posts about the factors and presumption judges consider and work with when making best interests determinations for purposes of child custody and parenting time arrangements. One of the points we mentioned was judges do consider the terms of a parent’s military family care plan when making best interests determinations.

Parents who have served in the military are familiar with military care plans, but for those who are not, a family care plan is a document which ensures that a military parent’s family is going to receive support and care during times when the parent is engaged in service away from the family. These times include annual trainings, drills, mobilization and deployment. 

Family care plans are set up according to the specific needs of the military parent, and are particularly important for single parents and for couples in which both parents serve in the military. These plans include arrangements such as; guardian , Power of Attorney, and other estate planning needs; life insurance and other financial arrangements; medical care; and education arrangements.

Each family care plan is going to be a bit different, and family court judges have to consider the specific arrangements any such agreement makes, and how this will impact the children affected by it. In cases where a family care plan is determined not to be in the best interests of the children in a given custody arrangement, changes may have to be made to the custody plan. Either that, or changes must be made to the family care plan.

For military parents, dealing with custody matters can be an enormous challenge, and it is critical to work with an experienced attorney. We’ll continue looking at this issue in future posts.

Sources:

Illinois Compiled Statutes, Section  602.7

Military.com, “Family Care Plan,” Accessed March 7, 2016. 

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