Many women know when they sign up for the military that even after their tour of duty is done, they may be re-activated and deployed at any time. It’s still a difficult family dilemma if a single mother is the sole source of support for her children. Whereas a single mother in civilian life may have daycare problems on a day-to-day basis, single moms in the military if deployed need to make childcare arrangements that can span months or years.
In cases of divorce, often child custody is the biggest issue to determine and years of legal and financial negotiations may be torn asunder when single moms in the military are deployed. The non-custodial father or other relatives may be called upon to take charge of minor child they weren’t expecting to have in their lives. If both parents who are divorced are in the military and both are deployed, the situation becomes dire.
The issue is addressed by the military in requiring all soldiers to have a Family Care Plan put together in the event they are recalled to active duty. This plan is mandatory for everyone, even single moms in the military.
It includes several forms that must be filled out and that all single moms in the military should keep current at all times:
The family care plan: It is the detailed plan a soldier is expected to make in advance in the event they are recalled to active duty.
A power of attorney: It gives legal authority for the child care of the minors. It establishes who the guardian is and what their rights are. It allows for that relationship to be established for extended periods of time.
Certificate of acceptance as guardian or escort: The form that verifies that the guardian has accepted their responsibility and has been made aware of the circumstances of the family care plan.
Application for uniformed services identification card DEERS enrollment: This provides military benefits to the children while the parent is gone.
Authorization to start, stop, or change allotment, for active duty or retired personnel: This allots a portion of the soldier’s pay to family members to support them while the parent is absent.
Letters of instruction: This is all the information important to the soldier’s family for legal, medical, and household purposes. Things like tax information, service providers, bills that need to be paid, car registrations can all be included in the letters of instructions.
Family care plan counseling list: A form that verifies the soldier has been counseled on the mandatory nature and information needed in a family care plan.
Although single moms in the military may not want to think about the potential of being re-activated, it is a situation that is occurring more and more frequently for people in the military. Having a thorough and up-to-date family care plan ready at all times can alleviate some of the stress of being deployed and help make sure that the children’s needs are met.