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Deployed service members must make sure children are cared for

Members of the military who are preparing for a deployment have a variety of things that they need to get done. If the service member has children, ensuring the children are taken care of during the deployment is a major concern. For single parents and parents who have custody of a child, getting things together for the child's care can be complicated.

In the case of a parent who has custody of a child or a single parent, a family care plan is required by the military. The FCP has to include instructions about who will care for the child and how the child will be cared for while you are deployed. If you and your child's other parent aren't together, the points in the FCP might be covered in your child custody agreement.

It is vital that you always have an up-to-date FCP on file. This can help you ensure that your child will be cared for if you are issued emergency deployment orders that don't give you much time to get prepared. Your FCP should include a caregiver and an alternate caregiver who can take care of your child while you are gone.

In some cases, you will need to get powers of attorney documents together. These documents can help the caregivers to care for your child on your behalf while you are deployed.

Any service member who has a child custody order and those who are in the midst of a custody battle should work to understand how the situation might be affected by deployment orders. Getting everything taken care of ahead of time can help to reduce the stress you feel when you get your deployment orders.

Source: National Military Family Association, "Deployment," accessed Sep. 09, 2015

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