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Military Deployment and Child Custody: Legal Considerations in Rockwall, Texas

Military families face unique challenges when it comes to child custody during deployment. The uncertainty of deployment and the legal complexities that come with it can be overwhelming. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the legal considerations of military deployment and child custody in Rockwall, Texas.

Understanding Military Deployment and Child CustodyDefining Military Deployment

Deployment is the process of sending military personnel to serve missions away from their home base. It may involve long periods of separation from spouses and children, making it challenging for military families to make arrangements regarding child custody. Military deployment can be a difficult and emotional time for both the deployed parent and their family back home.

When a military member is deployed, they may be sent to a combat zone or another location where communication with their family is limited. This can make it challenging for the deployed parent to maintain their relationship with their children, and for the non-deployed parent to keep the children's schedules and routines on track.

How Deployment Affects Child Custody

Deployment affects child custody in several ways. First, it can impact the non-deployed parent's visitation schedule as well as the deployed parent's ability to be physically present for their children. This can cause stress and uncertainty for the children, who may feel a sense of loss or abandonment when their parent is away.

Second, deployment may require temporary changes in custody arrangements. For example, the non-deployed parent may need to take on more responsibilities while the deployed parent is away, such as making decisions about the children's education or medical care.

Lastly, deployment poses challenges in terms of decision-making authority for the deployed parent. Depending on the custody agreement, the deployed parent may not have the ability to make important decisions about their children's lives while they are away.

Legal Rights of Military Parents

Despite deployment, military parents are entitled to the same legal rights as civilian parents concerning child custody. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spousal Protection Act (USFSPA), service members' child custody and visitation rights are protected, and military parents cannot lose custody of their children solely due to their deployment.

It is important for military parents to understand their legal rights and to work with their family law attorney to create a custody agreement that takes into account the unique challenges of military deployment. This may involve including provisions for temporary custody changes during deployment, as well as methods for maintaining communication between the deployed parent and their children.

Overall, military deployment can have a significant impact on child custody arrangements. It is important for military families to work together to create a plan that prioritizes the best interests of the children and takes into account the challenges of military life.

Texas Family Law and Military DeploymentTexas Family Code Provisions

Family law in Texas recognizes the unique challenges faced by military families, and as a result, Texas law has provisions that address these issues. Texas Family Code §153.702 states that military deployment may not be considered as the sole factor to modify a custody order. Additionally, the law provides that a military parent's period of deployment may not be used to deny or restrict that parent's visitation rights.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Another federal law that offers protection to military parents is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Under this law, a service member may request a stay or postponement of all legal proceedings, including child custody matters, for at least 90 days after active duty ends or deployment ends.

Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA)

The Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) provides more protection to military parents. It requires states to implement specific procedures to protect the rights of a military parent regarding child custody and visitation. The UDPCVA also allows military parents to have a designated caregiver for their children during deployment.

Creating a Family Care PlanImportance of a Family Care Plan

A Family Care Plan is a written document that contains instructions and information about how a military parent's children should be cared for during deployment. It is essential to have a family care plan before deployment because it ensures that the children will be taken care of when the military parent is away.

Components of a Family Care Plan

A Family Care Plan should include the name and contact information of the caregiver, the location where the children will live, details about the children's daily routines, medical information, and financial arrangements for the caregiver's expenses.

Updating and Modifying the Plan

It is crucial to keep family care plans updated, especially when there are changes in the family structure. Military parents must review their family care plan regularly and make necessary modifications to ensure that their children's needs are met during their deployment.

Temporary Custody Arrangements During DeploymentEstablishing Temporary Custody

Temporary custody arrangements during deployment are essential to maintain stability for the children. They can be established through a court order or an agreement between the parents. If an agreement is not possible, the court can appoint a temporary custodian to make decisions in the absence of the military parent.

Communication and Visitation During Deployment

Communication is vital during deployment to ensure that the children continue to have a meaningful relationship with the deployed parent. The non-deployed parent should make reasonable efforts to facilitate communication between the children and the deployed parent through phone calls, video chats, or letters. Additionally, visitation may be allowed by the court during deployment.

Reinstating Pre-Deployment Custody Arrangements

Once the military parent returns from deployment, the pre-deployment custody arrangements can resume. The court may modify the custody arrangements if deemed necessary, but the deployed parent is entitled to visitation rights and to continue to be involved in decision-making for their children.


Military deployment and child custody in Rockwall, Texas present unique legal considerations. It is essential for military parents to understand their legal rights and take necessary steps to ensure their children's well-being during deployment. By creating a comprehensive family care plan and establishing temporary custody arrangements, military parents can maintain stability for their children during their absence.

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