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AFPC News

Mil-to-mil couples gain time to make separation decision after childbirth

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Starting March 1, either parent of a Department of the Air Force military-to-military couple may now have up to 12 months to request separation from the service after the birth or adoption of a child.

A military-to-military couple is defined as a DAF active duty member married to another DAF active duty member.

Caregiver separation and childbirth separation give both parents more time to learn how to balance family and career, allowing them to continue to contribute to the DAF mission before making a decision to separate.

“As part of our ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts, this is a positive step we can take to allow new parents more time to decide how to balance their careers with a new child,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services. “It’s vital that we continue to find creative ways to develop and retain talented and skilled Airmen and Guardians.”

Additionally, new parents are encouraged to use the MyVector online mentoring system to find mentors who can provide support and guidance as they navigate service and family.

“This new family-friendly policy recognizes the work-life balance our Guardians seek and provides greater opportunity for choice,” said Patricia Mulcahy, deputy chief of space operations for human capital.

This initiative is in addition to pregnancy separation, which currently allows for voluntary separation for pregnancy before the birth of a child, and childbirth separation, which currently allows for voluntary separation for up to 12 months after the birth of a child. Other initiatives include new parental leave guidance authorized in the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act, which eliminates primary and secondary caregiver designations and provides for up to 12 weeks of leave for new parents. The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the services will implement that new policy within the coming year.

In an effort to balance mission while taking care of Airmen and Guardians, only one spouse will have the opportunity to separate under either the pregnancy, childbirth, or caregiver provisions. The other spouse may not separate under any of these provisions, but may qualify to voluntarily separate under hardship or any other reasons for voluntary separation under AFI 36-3208, Administrative Separation of Airmen and AFI 36-3207, Separating Commissioned Officers.

Members may apply for caregiver separation under the “miscellaneous reason” provision already included in both officer and enlisted separation instructions, which apply to both Airmen and Guardians. The requests are evaluated based on individual merit and may be disapproved if it is determined that the separation is not in the best interest of the DAF.

Members may apply as early as the day following childbirth or adoption, applications must be submitted no later than 12 months following birth or adoption, and the requested date of separation must not be more than 12 months from the application date. Waivers of active duty service commitments will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

For more information about personnel programs, visit myPers.