Child Custody: What is a Family Care Plan?

avel and colourful letters regarding child-custodyIf you’re an active member of the military and have a child, you should know about the family care plan. Military members who are single parents and families that have military members for both parents are required to have a solid family care plan. This plan must indicate primary and secondary caregivers, as well as specific plans for the care of the child, describing what would happen in the event of deployment.

What Does a Family Care Plan Include?

family care plan should include the following:

  • A short-term caregiver – The caregiver should live near the military base and could be easily called to care for the child whether daytime or nighttime. This could be the spouse of the military parent, but couldn’t be a military member.
  • A long-term caregiver – This person would be the primary caregiver of the child in the event that the military parent is deployed for a long time. He or she shouldn’t be a military member.
  • Specific childcare provisions – These could include details such as bank account passwords and numbers, as well as directions for child transportation to and from the caregiver’s home (if necessary). The child’s healthcare schedules, including schedules for prescription medication and doctor visits, and other relevant instructions that would make the child’s transition go as smoothly as possible should be present as well, explains an experienced family law attorney in Colorado Springs. The Law Office of Gordon N. Shayne explains that depending on the family’s specific circumstances, some family care plans may include powers of attorney so that the caregiver could act on the parents’ behalf.

Other Important Things to Know about the Family Care Plan

You should have your family care plan updated and reviewed by your commanding officer yearly. You would also need a new plan if you become a single parent due to divorce or death of your spouse, if you welcome another child to your family, or your spouse suddenly becomes incapable of caring for your children.

Likewise, if you’re the primary caregiver of your child, don’t live with the other parent, and don’t indicate the other parent as a caregiver, you need to have the other parent’s consent. Otherwise, a court order might be required to verify your family care plan.

It’s also important to note that your family care plan must not conflict with your other legal documents, including a child custody order, divorce decree, or estate plan. That’s why most attorneys strongly recommend that military parents incorporate their family care plans into their child custody order to avoid problems in the future.

If you have yet to make a family care plan, consult a family attorney with ample experience in handling military family issues. Have your plan reviewed for potential problems. Your attorney could likewise recommend relevant changes to your plan.