My child wants to LEAVE the army – what can I do?

If your child wants to leave the army and they’re not yet 18 then they can, but there are some restrictions. If your child is already 18 then it’s more difficult. Either way, this page will guide you through your options.

First six weeks

Your child has no right to leave in the first six weeks but if they’re very unhappy the Commanding Officer can make an exception. It will help if you talk or write to the CO yourself. If the CO refuses then the army has said that it’s unlikely to prosecute someone who leaves anyway (for going absent without leave) – but in theory they could.

First six months

If your child has done four weeks already but hasn’t yet done six months, then he/she can give two weeks’ written notice to leave – this is how he/she can leave at the end of the first six weeks (four weeks + two weeks notice = six weeks). Go to ‘Leaving the army – under 18’ for details.

After six months, but still aged under 18

If your child has done six months in the army but isn’t yet 18 then they still have a right to leave at three months’ notice. The army can choose to shorten the notice period but they don’t have to. Go to ‘Leaving the army – under 18’ for details.

After 18

Once your child turns 18 there is no legal right to leave the army until age 22. This is automatic and starts from the day your child turns 18 – there are no exceptions. But you do have options – click leaving the army to work through them.

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