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“I’m not trying to complain, but it’s not something I enjoy.” If the spouse of a servicemember is granted command sponsorship, the government pays for travel costs and shipping of household goods and provides on-base housing, an increase in the cost-of-living allowance and other benefits. The Navy is the only service to put such restrictions on its enlisted troops.Spouses like Payne are still technically allowed to come and would still collect an off-base housing allowance, but the sailor and spouse are left to foot the bill for everything else.Were Payne to accompany Phillips unsponsored, the couple would be unable to afford rent and utilities, let alone the cost of her plane ticket and the shipping of their household goods.Navy officials say the lack of available housing is another reason for the rule.
After technical school, Phillips found out that he would be headed for Sasebo. Under a longstanding Navy policy sailors stationed overseas and in Hawaii cannot gain command sponsorship for their spouse or children until they achieve the rank of E-4. “I was heartbroken,” said Payne, “because I knew it would be the last time I would see him for a very long time.” Heading into military life, both were prepared for some initial separation and challenges that come with serving one’s country.
Due to the inherently ambiguous nature of these various considerations, there will always be the potential for criminal liability under the UCMJ or exposure to adverse administrative action when a Soldier undertakes a new sexual relationship while still married, regardless of whether they are “legally separated.” The only 100 percent safe course of action under the UCMJ is to wait until a state court has granted you a final decree of divorce, thereby making you “single” again.
While the above information provides a general framework for examining our original question, every situation is unique.
The “explanation” portion of Article 134 identifies several considerations military commanders should consider in determining whether an act of sexual intercourse could satisfy the third and final element of adultery under the UCMJ, including whether the Soldier or their sexual partner was “legally separated.” When people refer to being “legally separated,” they generally mean one of two distinct legal situations " either they have signed a formal separation agreement with their spouse or that a state court has issued an order of separation.
A formal separation agreement is essentially a written contract between a husband and wife resolving the significant legal issues between them involving property, debt, support, child custody, etc.
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However, Payne says they were overwhelmed when they found out Phillips was headed to Japan without her.