Child custody and visitation are probably the most complicated issues most divorced parents have to face — and that’s doubly so for parents who are also in the military.

One of the biggest questions you may have is, “What happens to my custody and visitation rights when I’m deployed?” Even if there’s no immediate danger of deployment, that threat is always there — so it’s smart to know the answers ahead of time.

When you have custody of your child and are deployed

When you have shared or full custody of a child, deployment means transferring that custody to someone else. While Texas law permits you to designate someone in your place to take temporary custody, the court will give preference to your child’s other natural parent.

However, it’s important to remember that the best interests of the child are always foremost in the court’s mind. If you can show that it isn’t in your child’s best interests to be in the custody of their other parent, the court may allow you to designate another person — such as the child’s grandparents or another relative — to take temporary possession of your child.

When you have visitation rights and are deployed

If you are the noncustodial parent with visitation rights with your child, you can ask the court to assign your visitation rights to another person while you are gone. This can help preserve the bond your child has with their grandparents, a stepparent and others, while also maintaining continuity and stability in their lives.

If you have questions about the future following your military divorce, don’t guess — get answers. Talk to an experienced attorney about your options and learn what to expect.