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Who gets to live in base housing when a dual military couple separates?

If two Soldiers are married, live in post housing, and cannot get along who has to leave post housing?

First off, this is a sensitive area that requires consultation with your command’s servicing Staff Judge Advocate.

My comments here are solely my personal opinion based on previous cases I have dealt with and is not to be inferred in anyway as a legal interpretation or legal advice.

In general, the following are topics that must be considered:

Are the Soldiers seeking or have plans to seek divorce?

Since divorce is handled by civilian courts, housing issues fall under civilian jurisdiction as well.  In Ohio, for example, both parties are entitled to stay in the shared property until the court rules on the issue.  This could be when the divorce is finalized or when legal separation is ordered. The court will consider a number of factors to include but not limited to:

  • Custody of any minor children
  • Any abuse and which party committed the offense
  • Financial situation of each party

Domestic abuse

However, this is not to indicate that there is no recourse for the command/installation.  I assume that since you mentioned that the two Soldiers “cannot get along” there have been some domestic altercations, either verbal and/or physical. If these issues are documented with the PMO and/or command, the housing authority, usually along with the installation commander or their designee, can order one or both of the Soldiers out of post housing.

After a domestic altercation has taken place, the unit command can order an offending Soldier into the barracks for a cooling off period.  However, this is a temporary solution as most of the time the Soldier is only ordered into the barracks for 72 to 96 hours.

If abuse is involved, then the servicing Staff Judge Advocate must be consulted for any potential UCMJ violations and charges that may be appropriate.  If charges are appropriate, then this could support removing the offending Soldier from post housing.

Professional military and family counseling

At a minimum, the Soldiers should have been counseled by their unit First Sergeant and/or Commander in regards their family situation and maintaining their family affairs. During this counseling, the Soldier should be made aware of the family counseling services available through the chaplains office and ACS.

I know this did not provide a concrete answer, but there is not one to give.  Each situation is different and must be evaluated on its own merits and circumstances. I hope this helps.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and any views presented are my own and are not to be
interpreted as legal advice. Furthermore, my views do not necessarily
represent the views of DoD or its Components.

posted on 08/08/2012 under Q&A
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Staff Sergeant(R) Douglas “Eck” Eckstein is a former Paralegal NCO with over eleven years of service in the Army. He has served overseas tours in Korea and Iraq. Eck served on active duty for seven years working in the personnel administration field then, after a break in service, returned to active duty in 2009 when he earned the Military Occupational Specialty, 27D (paralegal). He has worked in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate from Division level down to unit level. He has expertise in all aspects of military law, with extensive emphasis in Administrative Law and Soldiers Rights. “I am not an attorney and any views presented are my own and are not to be interpreted as legal advice. Furthermore, my views do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its Components.”

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on AskTOP.net is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

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