Dear Ms. Vicki,
I have been reading your column. I have read time and time again about spouses getting kicked out of housing before a divorce is finalized. This should not be the case.
My husband and I separated for 18 months when we were stationed in Germany. I had chosen to ERD (early return of dependents), and to also have him remanded to the barracks. I was allowed to stay in housing. They even let me extend my housing when my paperwork got lost. It is very important to work with the FRL (Family Readiness Liaison) and not be afraid to go up the chain of command if things are not getting done satisfactorily.
Also, when separated but not divorced, the servicemember is required to provide a certain amount of support for his family. You can talk to his superiors if this is not done. Talk to Legal, they can tell you what the appropriate number is for family size and the rank of the soldier. Make sure that you find out what resources you have and utilize them.
The Army and military in general are very family oriented. If your servicemember’s direct superior is playing "old boys club" attitude, go above his head to the next person in charge. No one wants to get pulled up on the carpet in front of the base commander for not ensuring something simple like family support. Every base commander has an open-door policy.
It is not popular to use this tactic, but I would have done it if I had to in order to make sure my kids were taken care of by both of us. My husband and I did end up reconciling, but I wanted to make sure the right information is out there.
You are absolutely correct. I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. It’s great to have someone write who has actually worked all of the resources that were available.
Yes, the command should be involved during separation and divorce. However, there are many times that commanders choose not to get involved. In the case of military housing, the spouse should seek the help of other resources that you mentioned like legal services and the inspector general. Some spouses even contact their congressional members for help. It’s terrible when spouses have to go to that length to get action.
I’m glad everything is working out for you. I will share your advice with others. Keep in touch when you can.
Dear Ms. Vicki,
I've recently received a random jury duty survey letter (not a summons) and started to wonder if military spouses are exempt from jury duty while PCS-ing with active-duty military? I am from New York and I am now living in Nevada with my husband, an active-duty airman stationed here.
Wondering About Jury Duty
I did some checking with the legal office on base and they advised that you should be exempt from jury duty because you are no longer in the area. You can use the contact information you received to respond to the letter. This is a very important question, so if you discover any additional information, please write again and share what you’ve gleaned. It could be helpful to other readers.
|Family and Spouse|
Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.
Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.