Being a military parent is difficult on family life. You may miss important milestones in your children’s lives or have a hard time establishing a strong relationship when you are gone so often.
Divorce only compounds the problem, making it even harder to spend time with your kids when you can. It also adds complexity to child custody. Before you work out an agreement with your ex-spouse, be familiar with Texas law on military service and custody to ensure you do what is fair for both you and your children.
The state will not punish you for serving your country. On the contrary, it will protect your parental rights, because having a connection with your children will benefit them in the long run. When you divorce, the court will use the same factors to determine custody and visitation as it does for parents who are not in the military.
However, deployment can affect the agreement. You may already include provisions for this situation in your original court order, such as allowing your ex to have the kids the entire time you are gone.
If you do not address these matters in your initial agreement, there are still things you can do to protect your parenting time. To keep your current schedule, you can legally appoint someone to have temporary custody/visitation of your children until your return home. If you are the noncustodial parent, you have the option of asking the court to grant you extra time with your children to make up for the lost visitation.
Remember to do what is best for the kids, even if it means you will have them with you less. No matter what arrangement you end up with, remain in contact with your children as much as possible during your deployment. With the help of modern technology, you can still maintain a strong bond with your children.