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Can a Soldier volunteer for separation due to not having a valid Family Care Plan?

Can I receive a voluntary chapter for failure to obtain a family care plan?

Separation due to the responsibilities of parenthood is covered under paragraph 5-8, AR 635-200, “Involuntary Separation Due to Parenthood.” IAW this paragraph, Soldiers will be considered for involuntary separation when the obligations of parenthood interfere with fulfillment of military responsibilities.

Specific reasons for separation under this paragraph include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inability to perform prescribed duties satisfactorily.
  2. Repeated absenteeism.
  3. Repeated tardiness.
  4. Inability to participate in field training exercises or perform special duties such as CQ and staff duty noncommissioned officer (NCO).
  5. Non-availability for worldwide assignment or deployment according to the needs of the Army.

Separation is not mandatory. If the command determines that they can work with the Soldier’s situation, then the command may decide not to separate. I have also seen units that decide if a Soldier is within 12 months of their ETS date, they will not separate the Soldier early, but work with that Soldier to complete their contract. This normally occurs when the unit is not on a rotation schedule for say NTC or JRTC before the Soldier’s ETS.

posted on 07/02/2012 under Q&A
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Staff Sergeant(R) Douglas “Eck” Eckstein is a former Paralegal NCO with over eleven years of service in the Army. He has served overseas tours in Korea and Iraq. Eck served on active duty for seven years working in the personnel administration field then, after a break in service, returned to active duty in 2009 when he earned the Military Occupational Specialty, 27D (paralegal). He has worked in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate from Division level down to unit level. He has expertise in all aspects of military law, with extensive emphasis in Administrative Law and Soldiers Rights.“I am not an attorney and any views presented are my own and are not to be interpreted as legal advice. Furthermore, my views do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its Components.”

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on AskTOP.net is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

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    Comments

  • Casey

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    I have been at my current duty station for 5 years now (as of Aug 2017) at Fort Sam Houston. Jan 2016, my father was discovered to be terminal, my father is not currently my dependent as my mother was still working and so I did not provide greater than 50%. I do however, play a large role in assisting with after surgery care, medications, and transportation to appointments. I was approved a 1 year compassionate based off this. Knowing his life expectancy was 1 to 3 years I was proactive to work on a follow on assignment at Fort Sam while on the stabilization. In Jan of 2017 I was placed on assignment to BAMC which would support my family situation and provide me with a new unit/job.
    In late Apr this year my orders were canceled by the new branch manager who canceled before speaking to me about it. In speaking with her further the reasoning was vague (I can name numerous other NCOs who have also moved from here to BAMC in the same MOS and without extenuating circumstances with no problems). I filed an IG complaint as the timeframe my orders were canceled were 3 days from my final out. IG said while the behavior was distasteful there was nothing illegal and encouraged me to try to work towards a resolution to support the Army and my family issue. Having filed an IG complaint that isn’t working to well.
    During all of this my husband who is in the Reserves was activated and will not return to the area until Jun 2018.
    I am now expected to PCS with a report date of 10NOV17.
    The problem is that if I move and take the children from the area I will not be able to support my family care plan at a new duty station and so am concerned that arrival to new duty station will also result in the beginning of chapter actions. I attempted to submit a retirement in lieu of PCS packet in the end of July when I came on assignment, but my unit has delayed processing it and now I’m being told I need to be prepared to comply with PCS. I am at 20 years of service, but currently have 16 months service obligation remaining due to promotion in Feb 2016.
    Any advice on my situation would be appreciated.

    • Mark Gerecht

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      Two options.

      I understand HRC already gave one year and she was at Fort Sam 4 years before that (this is what’s hurting you).

      Consider going back to compassionate branch. If the compassionate branch decides to leave her there, there’s not much the branch can do. Compassionate Section overrides Branch.

      I understand the Soldier talked to the branch manager but the Soldier or her chain of command can call the branch SGM/Chief and explain the whole situation. It might be too late for her to submit a retirement in lieu of PCS but here’s what could happen.

      Compassionate Branch can extend her for 6 more months, branch can put her on AI with a report date of May 2018 and at this point, she could put in her request to retire in lieu of PCS.

      She just needs documentation on how her father is doing and she needs to explain her husband’s situation as well.

      Response Provided by our Administrative SME Linda Kessinger

      Compassionate Branch is Michael Slaven or Gloria Carlucci (502) 613-5068/5072.

  • Mary

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    My husband and I are both active duty but he is stationed in another state. My daughter lives with me so if I were to get the family care plan chapter would he too? I don’t have any family that can move to where I’m stationed to watch her.

    • Eck

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      Not necessarily. Since you are separated geographically and your daughter lives with you, there would be no reason for him to be separated also. That would depend upon his command. There is nothing requiring the unit to separate a Soldier who does not have a valid family care plan, but it is a Commander’s option. In your situation, since you are geographically separated, I would not see any reason for his unit to separate him if you are separated for an invalid FCP. Plus, if your unit separates you first, then he has a valid FCP caregiver, you. Hope this helps.
      Eck

  • pimples

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    I requested to intiate a FCP speratio as f 19 April 2016, Now my BDE Legal is telling my COC that I need to request a chaper 6? I researched a chapter 6 that doesnt apply to me, need to be out ASAP, What can I do

    • Eck

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      Sorry for the delayed reply. A separation for not having a Family Care Plan is a command directed chapter. It cannot be volunteered for. It is up to the command to initiate the chapter. See my original post on this thread for more details. Eck

  • Stacey

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    So my husband and I are dual military. I was going to get out on family care plan but we are told that it could kick my husband out also. Is that true?

    • Eck

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      Yes, the military can separate both of you. Being dual military, if one spouse does not have a valid family care plan then automatically the other spouse does not either. If you are both in the same unit the command can choose to separate which Soldier they desire or both. This comes from dual military spouses “playing the system” so one can get out early. Not stating that is your case, but it has happened in the past.

      I hope this helps.

      Eck

  • Ashley

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    So I only have 2 weeks left in Korea and my commander is trying to bar me from reenlistment because I was flagged for my apft and my height and weight last month. I was put on the ABCP last month and I had another weigh in last week. I lost 4 pounds and lost 3 percent of my body fat but I was still over by 3 percent. I showed a lot of improvement and I was wondering what I could do to stop him from barring me. I have started clearing and I only have 16 more days left. What can I do?

    • Eck

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      You can appeal the bar once it is imposed, but I would not recommend that. The bar is general practice in many units for Soldiers on the ABCP. My recommendation would be to continue to lose the weight like you are and PCS to your new duty station. Ensure you DO NOT gain weight while on leave. If you show up to your new unit within the guidelines, it will show them you are serious about continuing your military career. Once you meet the height/weight standards, there is no justification to leave the bar in place, assuming you have no disciplinary issues or are a PT failure.

      I hope this helps.

      Eck

  • xavier

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    So are there any negative repercussions for getting chartered for family care plan. I’m being told since I am an nco my family care plan chapter is going to be looked at differently. I was told that I would have to appear in front of a separation board and possibly lose rank and not get a honorable discharge.

    • Eck

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      A Chapter 5-8, Involuntary Separation Due to Parenthood is an involuntary chapter, that is initiated by the Command, not at the request of the Soldier. The vast majority of Soldiers who are separated under this chapter are given an honorable discharge, unless they some other negative counselings that would warrant a General Discharge.

      Paragraph 5-1, AR 635-200 governs the characterization of service for this type of separation. Para 5-1 states,
      “a. Unless the reason for separation requires a specific characterization, a Soldier being separated for the convenience
      of the Government will be awarded a character of service of honorable, under honorable conditions, or an uncharacterized
      description of service if in entry-level status.
      b. No Soldier will be awarded a character of service under honorable conditions under this chapter unless the
      Soldier is notified of the specific factors in his/her service record that warrant such a characterization, using the
      notification procedure. Such characterization is normally inappropriate for Soldiers separated under the provisions of
      paragraphs 5–4, 5–11, 5–12, 5–15, 5–16, or 5–17.”

      5-8 is not specifically listed, but paragraph b. requires notification of the reason for the less than honorable discharge.
      An administrative separation board is different than an administrative reduction board. You are entitled to have your case heard before a separation board if you have over six years of federal service. The six years includes delayed entry time, reserve active and inactive time, and active duty. You can waive the right to a separation board but do so only on the advice of legal counsel. Once you receive notification of the separation proceedings you are entitled to speak with Trial Defense Services. DO NOT WAIVE that right.

      An administrative reduction board can only be used for poor duty performance. It cannot be used for an action that is punishable by UCMJ. The only time I have seen a command not give a Soldier an honorable under a Chapter 5-8 is when the Soldier has other misconduct or negative counseling statements. OR, the command felt the Soldier was trying to work the system to get separated for not having a Family Care Plan. Only you know the answer to that.

      I hope this helps.

      Eck

      • Lovell

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        My husband and I are in the same unit and I asked to be separated through family Care Plan and I have been counseled and what not and now they’re saying they can flag my husband as well but it is up to the the commander. So if she chooses to she can or can not flag him upon her request correct?

      • Eck

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        Due to the fact that you are both active duty at the moment, if you do not have a valid FCP, then your husband doesn’t either. So yes, the Commander can flag both of you for failure to have a FCP. You would also be flagged for separation. Once your separation is complete and you are discharged, then your husband would no longer require a FCP and his flag should be lifted effective the date of your separation. Keep in mind, if your husband is flagged for not having a FCP he loses all favorable actions, including promotions and schools. It is the Commander’s decision whether to flag both parties, but technically both parties should be flagged as explained above. I hope this helps.

        Eck

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