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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.

Separation for parenthood is one of the chapters that Soldiers in the past have used to “work the system” to get out of their military contract. Because of this, units are more cautious when initiating this chapter. In the legal offices that I have worked in, we make it a requirement for the unit 1SG or Commander to verify the conditions that the Soldier stated in his Family Care Counseling Packet.  For example, if the Soldier states that their spouse left them with the children and the Soldier’s parents or siblings are unable/unwilling to care for the children if the Soldier gets deployed, the 1SG or Commander must submit a signed statement that they verified the information by personally contacting the Soldier’s relatives.

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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.”

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