Joining the military as a single parent

Jason BowmanQuestion: My son wants to join the Air Force. They have a rule that states a single parent with a dependent in his custody under 18 cannot join.

My son is an unmarried father of a little girl, 18 months, he has never been married and there have been no court actions at all. He has been helping the mother, taking care of her from separate homes. The little girl has his last name but I don’t know if he signed anything at the hospital declaring he is the father.

Can he legally tell the USAF recruiter that he has one dependent not in his custody?




First, I must state that I am not licensed in North Carolina, although Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed and located in North Carolina and would be happy to discuss your case with you. You are correct that the Navy will not allow a single parent to enlist in the Navy.

If your son has joint custody, pursuant to a Court Order, and does not have a spouse, then he would still be considered a single parent. However, based on the information that you have provided, it does not appear that there have been any Court Orders that grant him any custody rights of the children. Usually when a child is born to unwed parents, until a Court establishes paternity, the father has no custodial rights to a child.


Jason Bowman is an Associate Attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. Mr. Bowman is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

Mr. Bowman practiced Domestic Relations for four years with a Louisville firm, and practiced general law for one year. He is an adjunct professor with Indiana Wesleyan University where he teaches business law.

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