Soldier Dad of Out-of-Wedlock Child Refuses to Enroll Him in DEERS

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I don't know who else to ask so I hope you can give me some information or advice. I am German, and I was in a relationship with an Army service member. We broke up, and he is now back in the States.

Since we broke up, I have had to fight for everything. He didn't want to admit paternity for our child, and I wanted our son to have a father on his birth certificate. My ex also refused to pay child support. I am working so I can afford a good life for our awesome son.

I fought for all of that and got a paternity test done. At the next hearing, the child support will get settled. My ex even refuses to enroll our son in DEERS and claim him as a dependent.

Here is my question: Can I make him enroll our son in DEERS or can I do it somehow? Please don't misunderstand my intentions. I've been judged so many times by people who think I'm trying to take advantage of the system. I just want my son to have all of the benefits he is entitled to have, especially if something happens to his father.

-- Mother of Out-of-Wedlock Child

Dear Wedlock,

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that paternity has already been proved. If you know the service member's current duty station, you can ask his commanders to get involved. They may ask you for proof of paternity and still they may or may not get involved, but it won't hurt to try. They might convince your child's father to do the right thing by enrolling your son in DEERS.

You shouldn't worry about being judged. It's not my place to judge you or anyone else. Of course, we would hope that your child's father would step up to the plate and do the right thing by his son, but we never know what a person will or won't do.

I'm not sure how all of this works in Germany, but I'm certain that you are not the only woman there to have had a child with a service member who has left for another duty station. Will the German government help you attain child support from his father?

With that said, I gather from your letter that you have some shame because your child was born outside of marriage. You should start working on that shame. You want your son to grow up to have a good sense self-worth and self-esteem. He won't do that if you don't resolve your feelings of not being good enough.

Lastly, you should solicit legal help from an attorney to help you get child support and the other benefits to which your child is entitled. Your son will need enormous support, including emotional and financial support, so it is good that you are working and supporting your son as you should.

It may not be what you planned, but you could be the only one who supports your son financially. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you still can't make some people do the right thing.

I wish you and your son the best.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Benefits Family and Spouse