Military life is far different from civilian life. Members of the military and their families tend to relocate every two to three years. If you are marrying a military service member in the future and have a custody agreement in place, you will need to tread carefully in regards to future possible relocations with your new spouse.
Another sticky situation with custody agreements can arise if you and your new spouse choose to live on base. Your co-parent may not have the ability to pick up and drop off the children, depending on the regulations of the specific base where you will live. Here's what you need to do to make for an easy transition.
Read through your custody agreement
One thing that can make it extremely difficult to exchange custody according to your custody agreement is when the other parent is unable to get onto post. This means you may need to change the custody agreement for drop-off or pick up to be at a different location other than your residence, if that's how your current custody agreement stands.
It's reasonable to assume that any possible relocations for you to your soon-to-be spouse's next permanent duty station(s) may make exchanging custody difficult as the custody agreement currently stands, particularly if he or she comes down on assignment to an accompanied overseas duty station.
It's important to reread through your custody agreement with the above situations in mind to see how those scenarios and others may be affected by marrying a service member and living on base.
Speak with a lawyer and try mediation
If your co-parent is at all familiar with the military, they may already have some worries and fears of the likelihood of your relocation with your new spouse and your children to another part of the country or, possibly, another part of the world. You may have a fight on your hands, particularly if the co-parent chooses to go for full custody in order to keep the children near him or her.
Should this be the case, it's important for you to understand that the courts typically consider the best interests of the children rather than the interests of the parents. Unfortunately, this may mean you will need to give the co-parent full custody of your children or have a long-distance marriage with your newlywed. Open the debate with the co-parent through a mediator with your family law attorney present so you and the co-parent can both address your concerns.