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How does divorce affect military housing rights?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A military divorce can have serious consequences for receiving benefits. Military housing is an essential benefit that may be lost.

Officially, military personnel are the only individuals who are issued on-base family housing. Military members, however, are not allowed to evict any of their family members. This power is held only by the installation commander.

When physical separation is needed because of a worsening domestic situation, a base commander or first sergeant will usually order the member of the military to move into a dormitory or barracks. This happens because free housing can be provided by the military to its personnel in the onsite dormitories. However, they do not have the power to give free billeting to military spouses.

Military laws only permit military personnel who live with their families to stay in military family housing. However, family members can continue to stay in units if the servicemember is deployed, serving in a remote area or at sea. The parent must have physical custody of the children for at least half of the year.

Otherwise, each service branch has regulations that requires the vacating of family housing within 60 days if military members stop living in the unit or when no family members continue to reside in them. During divorce and separation, the base housing must be vacated by the party staying in it unless the individual is in the military and has children or other dependents in the housing.

The Joint Travel Regulation allows the military to pay for the transportation of household goods over short distances if a military employee is ordered to leave their on base housing. However, this regulation does not allow transportation payments for personal problems, convenience or morale.

An attorney can help spouses understand their rights to housing and other military benefits such as survivor benefits and health care. They can help spouses seek their rights under Texas and federal laws.

Source: The Balance, "Military divorce and separation" and "Living in military family housing or living off-base." By Rod Powers, Accessed Feb. 24, 2018

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