Being in the military and serving your country does not mean that you have to give up custody. Many military members have custody arraignments with their former spouses.
The first consideration when it comes to child custody is always what is best for the child. Keep that in mind when you consider the various custody arraignments.
Joint or shared custody
One of the best solutions for children of military divorced families is joint custody. While you are deployed, your former spouse has custody, and when you return, you share custody. Make sure that the arraignment works for both of you. Most states do not allow changes in custody while you are away on assignment.
An active service member can have sole custody. In cases where the non-military parent is unfit or cannot take the child while you are away, a family member may have a form of temporary custody. This is not common, but it does happen.
One situation that might be a solution can include having sole custody while you are home and then your spouse takes the children when you are away. This is not ideal but can help you care for your children in their home environment despite your deployment.
No matter which custody arrangement you have, you will need a family care plan if one or both parents are service members. If the child is under 19, it is a requirement.
Ultimately, you have to decide what is best for your child. Some military spouses have complex custody arraignments, while others have more simplified arrangements.