Your status in the military should not affect your ability to be an involved parent in your child’s life. Despite your military obligations, your former spouse cannot attempt to strip you of any rights based on your deployment schedule. Service members can have full or joint custody.
According to the U.S. Department of Defense, protections are in place to preserve parental rights.
Can you remain your child’s custodial parent during deployment?
You have the same rights as a non-servicemember parent during the divorce process. If the court determines you being the custodial parent is in the best interests of your child, then you may become the primary custodial parent. You and your former spouse must arrange a parenting plan appointing various rights and responsibilities. For instance, you both must decide on custody, visitation and support. If the two of you do not devise a fair plan, it becomes the court’s decision.
If you have custody of your child, you do not lose it during deployment. You should, however, discuss the complications of deployment when creating a parenting plan. Absences as a military member do not affect your custody order.
Who can care for your child during deployment?
In Texas, you can appoint someone to care for your child during deployment. The person you appoint does not have to be the other parent. While many service members choose the child’s other parent to care for them, you can choose any family member or any person you trust to care for your child.