Separated and Facing Eviction from Military Base Housing

Divorce can be especially tricky if you and your husband live in base housing. After you separate, you could be evicted. Military policy is that, once the military member has left the premises and notified the housing office, you will have thirty days to vacate the premises. Of course, he doesn’t have to actually officially notify the housing office—if anyone from the housing office happens to notice that he has vacated the premises, you will receive a curt thirty days’ notice to vacate yourself.

It’s not just you, either. Military policy is that you and your children must be evicted once the military service member has left the premises. At that point, you’ll receive thirty days’ notice—and only thirty days.

In my experience, the military absolutely will not extend this thirty day time period, so it’s a bad idea to ignore the notice and hope that the military will have mercy on you. It won’t happen. You can call, have your attorney call, write a letter, make a personal visit to the housing office, or whatever else you feel like might improve your chances of staying a bit longer—but it won’t help.

Practical problems like this one often provide many of the reasons why military spouses choose to leave at a specific, predetermined time, rather than moving forward with divorce as soon as they decide the marriage is over. Often, separating is the result of careful planning. If you live in military housing and are thinking of separating from your husband, it’s not a bad idea to save up a little bit of extra money to help you put the security deposit down on a new place before you officially separate. If I were you, I’d take all thirty of the days I was given (after all, that’s thirty days in rent you don’t have to pay somewhere else), but I wouldn’t start that clock ticking until I knew I had a place to go when those thirty days expired. (Of course, I’m assuming here that you’re not in any physical danger by staying.)

Divorce, and especially a military divorce, is rarely the impulse of the moment. Without a plan, you don’t have the luxury of saying that this or that is the last straw and beginning your separation immediately. Regardless of how bad or difficult your marriage has been, it won’t make the situation any better to impulsively institute a separation if that will start a thirty day countdown to homelessness for you and your children. Make sure that you’ve carefully planned your next steps before you make a hasty decision you’ll regret.

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