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Old 02-27-2015, 09:05 AM
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Default Thinking of joining the Forces...

I have a few questions, I've done research but have not seen any relevant information or answers. I'm seeking advice of members, more so, from mothers with young children who've gone through the Canadian Forces...

A bit of back ground, my separation situation is less than ideal at the moment and I have contacted a lawyer in regards to this.

I have been separated for 4 years now and the relationship between ex and I is tumultuous, father's decisions and lifestyle have made me cringe at times, but we still have a 50/50 agreement.

Now on my end, I'm a college graduate in social work services and penal justice and in search of work, good pay and benefits but with my studies I'm looking at really crappy, well, everything...I recently saw that the Canadian Forces are in need of Social Workers.

I understand that for my initial training (15 weeks) I would be away from home. And would need to study in University but my questions are:

After initial training, I'm I able to choose the University where I can study (closer to home)?

Will the Army take into account that I have a 50/50 custody agreement prior to posting me anywhere in Canada?

Would I have to temporarily sign over custody to say, my mother or spouse in order for S5 to see my family?

If you've gone through these motions don't hesitate to reply and tell me how your career in the Forces and being a parent has been for you!

(I am going to the recruitment office as well, but it's always nice to have first hand accounts and experiences)

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:39 AM
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Recruiters will be the best answer to your questions.

My understanding: generally being in the army means that you will be always be deployed somewhere different every few years. It means going on training and doing exercises all over Canada regularly, for weeks at a time.

It pays well, the benefits are great, and it's an awesome experience, but it's a lifestyle more than just a job.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:19 PM
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Background - Currently serving in the military for 15 years now. Split over 2 years ago. Two kids, aged 5 and 3, joint custody, Week on week off parenting arrangement. I don't think theres any difference in treatment received, but I'm male, so not a mother.

As FFF states, its a lifestyle, not so much a job. You are expected to be able to pick up and go, anywheres, for days/weeks/months at a moments notices, with your only notice being a phone call at 4 in the morning. They will take your custody situation into consideration, but thats about it. The forces will consider its needs first and foremost, and yours second.

Yes, your career manager would take into account that you have 50/50 custody, when it comes to your postings. But... The needs of the forces come first and foremost. Postings are also a temporary thing. In 15 years i've been moved 5 times, anywheres from 2-4 years at each location.

For your question about universities, there are programs that allow for you to attend civilian universities, but for specifics, that would definitely be a conversation to be had with a recruiter.

In regards to having to sign over custody, the forces wouldnt make any demands on that. Their only concern would be that when a demand is made of you, your able to do it. You'll fill out a form called a FCP - Family Care Plan. A form you will be sick of hearing about. Its used to detail what your plans are for taking care of your family, in the event you will be unavailable to do so. So if your told to report to CFLRS - Saint Jean for three months for training, they know you have a plan in place to deal with your kids. Whether its your parents, brother, sister, neighbor, or ex spouse, it won't concern them, so long as your able to attend your training.

It could be an excellent career choice for you, so long as you go into it understanding how things may go, and the understanding that you will be at times spending significant periods of time away from your children.


For my own experiences, they were excellent until the split. In my personal opinion, the mentality and culture of the forces is still geared towards the days when the soldier had a stay at home partner to take care of the kids. There are very slow, and minor changes occuring, but it can be extremely difficult for single parents who have been posted to a base where they have no friends or family, but are expected to be able to have alternative care for their children at a moments notice. Individual experiences can also vary greatly from unit to unit, or base to base, depending on the attitutde of the upper ranks.

For myself, my divorce occured while I was posted to a city extremely close to where I grew up, and all my family is still here, so I have an excellent support system, as such I've chosen to keep serving as long as I can. However, there is also mobility clauses in my custody agreement however, and the kids are staying where they are. If I get posted to another base, its either back to court with very little chance of success, or lose custody of the children. So should they decide to post me, its time to pull the plug and seek a release from my contract. No job is worth losing the kids from my life. That said, with budgets how they are lately, postings are getting infrequent, and I'm hopeful that I may be able to complete the final 5 years of my contract before that happens.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:09 PM
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As for the custody issue you specify above, make no mistake if YOU can't take care of your child by virtue of your job you will be expected more than likely to relinquish to the other parent (not your current spouse or mother).
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:51 PM
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Look at the reserve. They are local and still offer many of the opportuntiites of Reg For e but you choose whether to apply for a posting. My daughter has been in the reserve for 10 yrs. straight from hi school. She is a clerk. Has full benefits, 50plus income and has been on some trainings, but not that long. Longest was for 6 weeks. She took her basic in home town..
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for all the info folks, much appreciated!
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Old 02-28-2015, 12:25 PM
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Statistically & Historically supposedly women's financial stability post divorce comes from re-partnering....
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