My husband thought he got a divorce through the military from his first wife. So we went to go get our military ID's but the Deers said that she was still listed as his present wife. They said that he has to bring in his Divorce Decree. We called all over to try and get a copy of it but nowhere seems to have it not even the office that did it. So now he has to get an annulment from me and a divorce from her and then remarry me. We have 2 kids and were married in 2010. Can they get in trouble at all?
Unlikely. First, the military, and JAG specifically, has no authority to grant divorces. Marital law and divorce are strictly state law matters. A divorce may only be granted by a state court with competent jurisdiction. Thus, if your husband actually filed for divorce with his former wife, he needs to contact the court that granted the divorce to obtain a copy of the final order, judgment of divorce, or decree. Military legal assistance attorneys do not provide full legal services. I am fairly confident that your husband would have been advised of the program's limitations when he sought them as such advisement is standard operating procedure in most legal assistance offices. In divorce cases, the level of services provided varies with each military service, and even between installations. Generally, services will extend to at least advice, but in more robust programs, the services may extend to drafting and execution of a marital separation agreement. A marital separation agreement governs the relationship between married persons living apart and, similar to a divorce decree, provides terms for property division, child and spousal support, and child custody. It is not, however, the same as a divorce. If your husband had a separation agreement drafted through legal assistance, he would still have to file a petition in state court to obtain a divorce. If neither he nor his former souse did this, then he is not divorced.
Law Office of Stephen P. Kelly (508) 983-1479--Criminal Defense, Military Law, Divorce & Family Law, Appeals. DISCLAIMER: Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.
It is amazing that you would jump to blaming the JAGC for this, on the assumption that they are somehow responsible and didn't do their job. If your husband is blaming the JAGC, he is trying to deflect blame from himself. The JAG Corps does not have the power to grant anyone a divorce Some JAGs will help draft marital separation agreement (a contract settling marital property issues, not a divorce). Giving your husband all benefit of the doubt, he could have been confused as to the meaning and effect of that paperwork, it is not the equivalent of a divorce. The JAG Corps also doesn't keep this paperwork on file, it would be the responsibility of the individual member to keep his copy of this agreement. Depending on the state and individual office policy, the JAGC may help a person prepare the legal paperwork to request a divorce from a court, and the separation agreement could form one part of that paperwork. Then a civilian COURT provides a final divorce decree, signed by a civilian judge, so there is no such thing as "the office that did it." It was either done by a court, or not at all.
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