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Finding Legal Help During a Military Divorce

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I've read your column before and found your advice helpful and informative, that's why I'm writing to you now. I'm just as desperate as any other woman who is going through a divorce.

I've been married to my husband for 16 years, and he is retiring from the military this year. In the course of our marriage, he had an affair with the a younger woman who is also a soldier. She got pregnant and now they have 4-year-old daughter.

He filed for divorce from me while he was seeing the other woman, but then they broke up and he stopped the divorce before it was finalized.

We've tried for more than year to fix things, but now he's saying again that he wants a divorce. I need your help to find a military divorce lawyer who can enlighten me on how to handle this situation and learn my rights.

-- Desperate

Dear Desperate,

I'm glad to know that you are seeking legal counsel: That's the smart thing to do. There are many military spouses, both men and women, who show up in court without legal representation, to their dismay. There are no absolutes in any military divorce, so you should look for a lawyer who understands the military.

Another challenge for military spouses is affording an attorney. Many spouses put their careers and even their dreams on hold in order to support their service member's career. When a divorce happens, the spouse is often the one with no money saved and who can't afford an attorney.

I say all of that to say to refer you to EX-POSE, which stands for Ex-Partners of Servicemembers for Equality. You can contact them if you find yourself facing the possibility of separation and divorce from a military service member. They will provide primary information and resources you need. You can reach them by phone at 703-941-5844 or through their website.

After 16 years of marriage, I think you have been around and around this Ferris wheel with your husband. First he says he loves you, and then he has an affair and a child with his mistress, so he says he wants a divorce. But, then, wait a minute! He and the mistress break up so now he wants to work it out! And then he decides he wants a divorce again. Enough already!

Just reading about this, I'm getting dizzy from this ride and I don't blame you for wanting to get off so you can restore the peace and sanity you deserve.

I am sorry to hear about what has happened in your marriage. Through all of this, I hope you will be okay. Please contact EX-POSE and let me know if I can help you further.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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