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Military Divorce and Legal Separation

Aug 17, 2007
My husband is in the U.S. Army and has asked me for a legal separation, what, if any benefits would I still be entitled too if we were separated? Also my husband is being rumored to be sleeping with a married woman to whom he serves as a team leader he's an E-5 she's an E-2, how much trouble could this cause him if this rumor spreads to the wrong people. They both deny it, and I know it to be untrue.

As a separated spouse, you would be entitled to all the benefits that you currently have as a married spouse. There are only two kinds of people in the Army -- married and single(never married/divorced/widowed) - separated is not a separate category, as you are still married. However, separation does give you one benefit that you do not currently enjoy. As a married spouse, your husband is supposed to support you, but he may choose not to. As a separated spouse, you are entitled to a certain level of support. Essentially, unless you have a court order that says otherwise OR you sign a separation agreement, he must (assuming no other children or ex-spouse he is supporting) pay you the full amount of his Basic Allowance for Housing, or provide you in-kind support (such as housing or groceries, etc) if you agree. Other than that, you are still entitled to medical care, the commissary, PX, and all other benefits.

It is important that you see the Legal Assistance Office of your Staff Judge Advocate's office if you and he intend to separate to preserve your legal right to the monetary support to which you are entitled. This assistance is free, and you will be assigned your own attorney who represents you alone, and not you and your husband. Ensure that, if you do separate, you get a fair accounting and distribution of property. Before you sign anything, make sure you fully understand it. You can share all of the information with your attorney, who will be bound by attorney-client privilege not to disclose any of the information you provide without your consent. Army attorneys in legal assistance work for you, not for the Army as their client. Of course, ask your attorney to reiterate his obligations, but he (or she) will tell you as I have.

He cannot turn your husband in for having an affair, but you may use that as leverage in getting a divorce on your terms in the way of property distribution and support. In many states, adultery is grounds for a quick divorce with no separation period. The attorney works for you, will advise you on your options, but works for you, and will keep your information private unless you consent to it being used.

As to the rumors, if they reach official ears, he could be investigated to determine whether it is true. Potentially, he could be court-martialed (although unlikely) or given an Article 15 for adultery. However, to prove adultery, usually one or the other must confess or they must be caught having sexual relations. There are other offenses, though, if he is in her chain of command. He could be relieved of his position and have other administrative consequences. And those are only the official consequences -- unofficially, it could cause the rest of his unit to look differently at him and lose respect for him. It is best to try and squelch this rumor as soon as possible.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for http://www.WarGear.info/. WarGear.info carries the best selection of military clothing, war gear, and combat accessories on the market.
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