By | March 31, 2010 38 Comments

LETTERS TO LOVEFRAUD: A broken military system, a simple request

Editor’s Note: Kathleen Mills first contacted Lovefraud in September 2006 about her military husband, who she believes is a sociopath. He filed for divorce, deployed to Iraq and refused to pay her the financial support that by law, military families are entitled to receive.

A year ago Kathy sued the Ohio National Guard and the governor of Ohio. “My situation is still the same,” she wrote last week. “My husband is still committing BAH fraud, with the open knowledge not only of the Guard, but the governor’s office.”

Kathy Mills is editor of the divorce section of She has been invited to testify before the House Armed Services sub-committee. The following is excerpted from her open letter to legislators, military commanders and concerned taxpayers.

Military families at risk—the unrecognized battlefront

Many sacrifices are made by members of our Armed Forces during times of war, civil unrest or national distress, and whenever our great country has the need. And the sacrifices made by these military service members are made equally by the spouses and children of our military families.

Military families are a special breed. They have signed up to sacrifice any hope—in many cases, for life—of an ordinary existence. They often live without the presence of their service member spouse as parent and partner. They often live in fear as their spouses deploy to dangerous areas. They often endure the difficulty of dealing with spouses suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the related difficulties that condition brings.

Despite these difficulties and sacrifices, one thing military spouses count on is that they and their children will be taken care of financially in spite of losses or suffering. The unfortunate fact is, too many of them end up abandoned by their soldier spouse and must then face another battle—largely unseen and often fruitless—to receive the support promised them by law.

Scope of the problem

Even the most heroic soldier and his/her spouse may find themselves estranged at some point. Some of these soldiers choose to continue supporting their families, but many do not. The fact is, every day, on military bases and in off-base homes around the country, abandoned military spouses and children struggle to meet their basic financial needs. Though the Army has measures in place to address these types of situations, the relevant regulations are being neither applied nor enforced. The Army isn’t unique; this problem of spousal/family abandonment exists in every branch of the Armed Forces.

Soldiers receive special extra pay to support their families, such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and Family Separation Pay (FSP). Unfortunately, in cases of abandonment, the funds are misused when soldiers who receive the pay they’re entitled to withhold the proper share from their families and keep the money for their own use. It is a common problem.

Obstacles and challenges

Marriage is a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances. In the case of military marriages, the challenges can be even more overwhelming. While estrangement and separation are at least as common among military families as among civilians, one difference is highly significant. A spouse whose military member husband/wife is deployed in the service of the United States cannot, by law, sue to end the marriage—no matter what the circumstances. On the other hand, a soldier who wishes to leave a marriage has two options:

1) He/she can sue for and obtain a divorce, or

2) He/she can simply abandon a spouse and children and continue to benefit from the government monies legally allocated to help support the family.

Despite existing laws, strong public support, and the endorsement of government officials, support for many abandoned military spouses and children is simply not forthcoming when it is petitioned for. Protection without enforcement is no protection at all. A spouse who seeks appropriate support monies faces a series of daunting obstacles to rectify the situation. And one obstacle is paramount: No soldier who receives BAH and FSP monies can be ordered to use them to support the family.

Fighting the battle on multiple fronts—the military system

Withholding BAH and/or FSP funds from a military spouse qualifies as spousal abuse under military law. Yet, proving such abuse is nearly impossible since no trial can be instituted for spousal abuse without the express permission and approval of each soldier’s commander. It is up to the commander to pre-determine that non-support is occurring and that government-supplied funds are being used for purposes other than those they are designated for. It is here that a hidden system works to override the official system.

Few statistics are kept concerning this issue. There is little backup for an individual spouse’s claim that this problem is not unique to her (or him). Specific challenges arise because:

  • Existing military laws are inadequate: Mandates are in place, but no soldier can be ordered to comply. For example, at the federal military level, military protection orders—by which abandoned spouses can receive redress—are granted in only 7% of cases.
  • Ethics and integrity regarding the military family’s needs are easily put aside as a consequence of the commanding officer’s desire to support the soldier.

Individual petitioners (abandoned spouses) who manage to learn the military system and persist in fighting may gain some relief. But the vast majority does not have the knowledge, time, and resources to do so. And relief for one determined spouse does not translate into help for the hundreds of others who have only the system to trust—and clearly the system doesn’t work. Additionally, the costs involved—including legal fees—are significant at a time when families are least able to afford such expenses.

The reality is that the military system “looks the other way” when it comes to military spousal abandonment.

Civil law protections

Civil laws exist to protect spouses from various types of abuse, including financial abandonment. At the state level, spouses who have the time, money and resources may appeal to the Civil Court.   Another factor comes into play—the revised Soldier Sailors Civil Relief Act, which can be used as a sword or a shield against or for military families.  The Civil Relief Act provides automatic 90-day civil court stays that soldiers can use to prevent judicial orders/hearings from being issued against them.  This situation leaves the military spouse unable to obtain civil court orders that could provide her financial support from the soldier and an ability for the commander to fully enforce regulations with the soldier.

A simple solution

In order to preserve the original intentions of spousal support law, model a new law upon the existing one that protects former spouses during divorces. The new law would be entitled “The Uniformed Services Spouse Protection Act (USSPA).” It would provide a simple system of checks and balances. It would smooth the process and end the frustration and suffering of abandoned military spouses and families. It would stop the waste of government time and money spent trying to enforce existing laws.

The law would simply provide that an estranged spouse who has a valid marriage certificate may petition DFAS directly for BAH/FSA income entitlements. From this single action, four major benefits would result:

  • End the agony of decision that military commanders face when asked to intervene to enforce support.
  • Save hours of paperwork by reducing or eliminating the incidence of BAH fraud.
  • Ensure that funds already approved by taxpayers are being used for their intended purpose
  • Eliminate the temptation for soldiers to profit from abandoning their spouses.

The good you will do

Passing this new law is good for America. It will save the thousands and thousands of dollars other government agencies must provide when family military pay is diverted from its rightful purposes. It will save the government the hours and hours now spent to manage the appeals of deserving spouses who are forced to chase after their legal entitlements.

And perhaps even more importantly, the new law will enhance the image of our country both at home and abroad. It will demonstrate that we, as a people, believe in backing our military forces in every way. And that includes standing behind our military families, recognizing the great sacrifices they make and ensuring they are not abandoned in their time of need.

If you would like more information, contact Kathy Mills at [email protected].

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Elizabeth Conley

Wow. You’re not going to believe this. OK, maybe you are. Here’s another broken system:

Elizabeth Conley

I am a Marine Corps veteran, and I’ve been married for 27 years to a Marine, now long retired.

During many of his years of service I served my fellow Marine spouses in various volunteer capacities. I found that when spouses were complaining about their service-member, it was very hard to figure out what the actual problem was.

In one case it appeared that the Marine had abandoned his poor wife and child in a remote trailer on the outskirts of Camp Lejuene with no means of support or transportation. (The Marine was deployed to the Persian Gulf region during the first Gulf war.) After his entire chain of command interrogated him thoroughly, and I had done a bit of research, it was revealed that his wife was a crack addict with a very young baby. He had set up an elaborate community support system to make sure his wife and child’s needs were being met, without actually providing her with anything she could use to buy or barter drugs with.

In other cases, it often seemed that junior enlisted men married young ladies who had very few life skills. When these Marines deployed, they would trek home with their wife and kids, depositing them with the Marine’s mother. Because the Marine’s permanent duty station had not changed, his military clause would not release him from his leased home near the base. He would have to continue paying rent on the apartment, plus whatever bills the family had relating to vehicle and furniture purchases/rentals. This happened a lot. Roughly 20% of the men’s wives would be shipped back to the Marine’s mother or her own mother during any given deployment. In a significant percentage of cases, the Marine sent money to his mother for his family’s maintenance, not to his wife. Fights between the mother and the wife were common. Trying to help the young woman get social services from several states away was very, very difficult. Each state was different. I spent untold hours trying to unravel each case.

I began strongly disagreeing with each young woman who permitted herself to be shipped back to Mama with her kids. I tried hard to convince them to learn some life skills, but many of them were from Evangelical, Charismatic, Southern Baptist or Fundamentalist backgrounds. They were convinced that only “sinful women” would live alone in a military town while hubby deployed. In their minds, spiritual and physical safety lay in returning to the cloistered situations they grew up in. Sadly, there were enough bimbos and tramps among the women who remained in town to make their point. Explaining to “good girls” from their background that one doesn’t necessarily have to behave badly when unsupervised was counter to their lifelong religious conditioning. They believed they had to be supervised in order to stay safely on the straight and narrow path.

In a nutshell: helping military spouses is harder than a well-educated, ethical, capable adult woman can easily understand. Among the military spouses who have serious conflicts with the military member, there are a significant number of women who are not prepared to take proper advantage of more entitlements, rights or privileges. They need considerable mentoring before they can function as independent adults. There are also a sprinkling of women who aren’t acting in good faith toward the military member or the military. These women don’t need another “stick” to beat their military man with. They need to be treated as the cluster Bs they are.

There are extensive Social Services on base designed to help military spouses. Military members and their dependents have good medical facilities available to them and extensive support networks both on base and off. I’m not saying it’s perfect, I’m saying it’s better than what most American citizens enjoy. The biggest problem I encountered in helping disenchanted military spouses was a lack of basic life skills on the part of the “victim”, coupled with a sociologically ingrained resistance to developing these skills. The second biggest problem was in discerning which of the unhappy ladies were exploitive, abusive or mentally ill, and which were actual victims.

I think the current balance of power between the spouse and the service member is appropriate. Giving the military spouse more power over the member’s finances than she currently enjoys is unwise. If you allow the member’s spouse to legally confiscate the money the member needs to pay the rent/mortgage, family car payment and furniture purchase/rental bills, then you’re exposing the military member to an unreasonable financial risk. The blunt truth is that many military spouses don’t financially qualify to borrow money to make major purchases or rent a home. It’s the service-member who is usually legally responsible for paying these bills that keep his family comfortable. To make him responsible, but remove the means by which he can meet the responsibility, is unethical and illogical.

Elizabeth Conley


These two statements are extremely problematic:

1. “Existing military laws are inadequate: Mandates are in place, but no soldier can be ordered to comply. For example, at the federal military level, military protection orders—by which abandoned spouses can receive redress—are granted in only 7% of cases. ”

Read the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice), then reread the above statement. Try to keep a straight face, even though it’s hard. (The statement is pure nonsense.)

2. “Ethics and integrity regarding the military family’s needs are easily put aside as a consequence of the commanding officer’s desire to support the soldier. ”

Pure opinion here, and counter to everything I’ve ever witnessed or experienced. My husband was once one of those Commanding Officers. He and his peers practically break themselves serving the needs of their Marines and families, while still accomplishing the mission. Furthermore, one only reaches the position of CO after a decade or so of mentoring from COs who have worked to the breaking point serving the needs of their Marines and families, while still accomplishing the mission.

There is no way that a civilian judge can possibly bring the same degree of insight, power to act or genuine personal interest to the problem of keeping a servicemember’s family safe and comfortable.

kim frederick

There’s a reason military wives are called, “dependants.” The system works very well to keep them that way. An excellant set-up for abuse and trauma bonding, and an excellent way of keeping the little lady in line!

I wasn’t issued to my career military husband in a duffel bag, and I got tired of being kept neatly folded up in one.

I got out, stretched, and learned how to live.

Elizabeth Conley

“I got out, stretched, and learned how to live. ”

I don’t agree that it’s “the system” that keeps dependent wives dependent. There are special challenges inherent in military life, but most dependent wives are not dependent personalities. Like you, they grow up and take charge of their own unique set of circimstances.


Elizabeth Conley- your post was very interesting. this is a world I know nothing about; thanks for educating me about some of the challenges people in the military system face.

Ox Drover

Dear EC,

I should have know you were (are?) a Marine! LOL ( I think the marines are like “once in, always a marine?)

Your points are well taken, there are some problems in assuming that everyone who winds up “abandoned” has actually been mistreated. EACH CASE IS INDIVIDAUAL.

Unfortunately, individual handling of cases like these are not easy to do. “Social Situations” should be handled with some wisdom and compassion. I think your post makes that very clear. We need an ARMY of Elizabeths! Will you please step into the “replicator box” Elizabeth! (((hugs))))

Elizabeth Conley

Cut that out Ox Drover. Flattery will get you nowhere. I’m broke!

Seriously, each case IS individual.

Sociopaths are a pain in the rump, and better laws aren’t going to shut them down. Give them a better law, and they’ll just find new ways to break it or circumvent it.

Think of all the things in this world that are more expensive and inconvenient because some people are dishonest. That would be practically everything!!!

One of the things in my life that I’ve found extremely inconvenient is what I call the “presumption of dysfunctionalism”.

1. It has made it nearly impossible to make our various marital accounts and assets truly “joint”. No matter how we set things up, there’s always a standard procedure in place to “prevent us from cheating each other”, which makes taking care of business really, really inconvenient.

2. It has made getting medical care for our children an ungodly hassle.

A – We have to prove we’re actually the kids’ parents, and even provide the kids’ SSNs!!! (Like that’s always possible in a true emergency!!!)

B – We have to prove we didn’t injure the children. It seems like fanciful medical personnel are always imagining the worst. I grew up continually sun-burnt, with scabby knees and bruised shins. Now I shake with terror when I have to take my scabby, freckled, black and blue darlings to the doctor’s office.

C. We have to prove we aren’t neglecting the kids. It seems like every cavity and earache is grounds for suspicion. Heaven forfend I not make time to make them shower, shampoo and change into their Sunday best before an appointment. A bit of normal sweat and topsoil on a happy, scabby kid will cause a modern pediatrician to go into hysterics.

3. It makes our home-schooling something that must be continually justified and defended. (The popularity and prevalence of home-schooling fallacies is staggering.)

It’s the infamous acts of seriously disordered people, many of them sociopaths, that has caused the presumption of dysfunctionalism that frequently adds hassles to my day.

Whenever people seriously advocate changing laws and/or business practices to accommodate crazy and/or evil people, I tend to object.

Crazy people and Evil people are a boil on the backside of humanity that isn’t going to clear any time soon. It would be nice to be truly free of them, at least when they’re not actually present.

As a military wife who is a domestic violence survivor i WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with this post. BAH was also abused in my case, as was the move benefit and the military did NOTHING to enforce the rules. My abuser knew i desperately needed to get 2200 miles home to get away from him. He told me if i filed for divorce, he would ensure i would NOT get the move benefit. And he did just that. He moved 300 pounds of household goods, and used a DITY move to do it, purposely closing me out of all of the benefits to move home. I have spent 2 years recovering from abuse alone, 2200 miles from family. Now, despite a permanent restraining order, arrest warrant, contempt of court, and a lengthy history of domestic violence, my military abuser is back in the military again (different branch now). This man told me he intended to take a gun and shoot it into a crowd someday. I fully believe he will.

It is EXHAUSTING to stand alone as a military spouse and try to battle these issues. I wrote a letter and sent it off to 45 military and political heads. No change. I spoke with his direct supervisor, who simply went DIRECTLY TO my abuser to report the contact, and ended up with more death threats. Thousands of dollars in court. Nothing. I’ve achieved exhaustion for myself,and no change.

HR 840 is another bill on the floor now, put on by Rep Slaughter, and should be supported by all of us. It is meant to strengthen the support for domestic violence situations…

Military spouses are being ignored and victimized again by the system that is supposed to protect us, because we are isolated from one another, and because they can. We need to ban together. Please, let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do to stand in support of your efforts. I am there!!!

Elizabeth Conley

BAH fraud is when you claim dependents you do not have. It is BAH fraud to claim an ex-wife as a dependent. When the divorce if final, the service member must turn in the divorce decree.

The government takes BAH fraud very seriously. If you’re guilty, you’re prosecuted. On the other hand, if you’re not guilty the accuser is not entitled to know why the accusation didn’t turn out the way s/he expected. This is due to the service member’s constitutional right to privacy.

If the service member has dependents the accuser isn’t aware of, he may still be entitled to BAH. If the service member is paying more than a certain amount in child support, he will get a BAH diff. payment each month. The threshold isn’t particularly high, but it varies from pay grade to pay grade and duty station to duty station.

The BAH rules for reservists on active duty are enough to baffle even a Disbursing Officer. This is why there is a huge bank of manuals in the DO’s office. You can bet s/he consults them whenever the topic comes up. DOs are the kind of people who are driven to get things right consistently.

It can be infuriating for an angry spouse or ex-spouse to be told that the service-member’s CO considers her accusation that he’s committing BAH fraud to be laughable, and that said CO isn’t willing to talk about it any more.

The other side of the story is that the CO is incredibly busy, busier than most people will ever be in their entire lives. (This is what it means to be the CO.) If her case has no merit, then he is neither allowed nor inclined to infringe on the service member’s right to privacy in order to explain to her why her complaint has no merit. The more she hounds his subordinates, (also very busy), the less patience anyone at the command has with her. Fairly or unfairly, they begin to suspect that the service member is lucky to have escaped the harpy’s grasp.

If the service member is a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath who has been toying with his ex-wife’s or wife’s marbles, then it’s natural that she would be very, very angry. Nonetheless, her anger doesn’t mean she’s right about the BAH, or that she should be given information protected by privacy laws. It just means she’s entitled to her anger, considering all she’s been through.

Sociopaths make their victims crazy, and not in a happy, fun loving way either.

The government takes BAH fraud very seriously. If you’re guilty, you’re prosecuted.

Elizabeth, this is a nice idea, but it just flat does not happen that way in all cases. While married and going through our court process, my ex drew family bah for over a year. I did not see a dime of it. He was not prosecuted. I know all of this for a fact. I have documentation like crazy proving such. It doesnt matter. Living with sociopath means “rules” and “absolutes” get miraculously broken as they manipulate people and the system to their advantage, breaking laws and defying reason in the process.

Ox Drover

Dear tjk,

Welcome to LF–glad you are here! Yep ps always mess with rules and the laws and sometimes (too many times) get away with it!

Elizabeth Im reading further back on your comments on this board and I disagree with much of what you’ve said. My experience was pretty much the exact opposite of your entire argument.

In a nutshell, “There is no way that a civilian judge can possibly bring the same degree of insight, power to act or genuine personal interest to the problem of keeping a servicemember’s family safe and comfortable. ”

My experience was that the only support I received was from a civilian judge and civilian counselor. The military investigated abuse twice in my case. Police removed him from our home another two times on separate occasions, and there were several MPOs instituted. With my husband’s open admission that he had threatened to kill me, and a signed civil document that he had done so, proof of his violating the restraining order, a recommendation from a civilian Family Advocate that he be referred to long term treatment for abuse issues, and a long history of documented violence, the military ruled abuse as “unsubstantiated” in our case. The only people that would actually call what he did “abuse” were civilians. No military person would ever even use that word.

I have heard this time and time again from other people, and most with hospital reports of broken bones, bruises etc in addition to the other issues I had with mine. Mine is a true sociopath.

The court system has tried all it can to help me. I have a permanent restraining order now. A warrant is issued for his arrest. However, the military has literally done NOTHING to help. NOTHING. With each time I pressed for my rights as outlined in the UCMJ, or for them to assist, they turned a blind eye. They have moved him up the food chain higher and higher. I have several friends in similiar positions that I have met along my journey to speak out.

As I read the posts negating the original poster’s piece, I see even further outlined why it is so hard, as an abused military spouse, to get help. The very people meant to help when you are trying to get out, walk into the role with skepticism and preconceived ideas that are simply NOT the experience of an abused spouse.

One more note here, what the military spouse is entitled to (at least in the AF) is the difference between the single BAH rate and the family BAH rate. I believe it is more for other branches. If the original post is a request for law to give the spouse the amount that they are legally entitled to (not the entire BAH rate but whatever the military already mandated they were to get) then I see no problem whatsoever with what she is suggesting.

This is not suggesting, as EC suggests, that the military spouse be in charge of ALL of the military member’s money…only that she get the money he is already required by UCMJ (ie military law) to give to her… If he doesnt want her to have it, then frankly he still has the option to file for divorce and get only the single BAH rate…

I would like to see the suggestions go a couple of steps further and REQUIRE the military member to share his move benefits to move the spouse home if he is PCSing within a reasonable time frame around the divorce, (which is currently ALLOWED but not REQUIRED) and REQUIRE the military member to allow the spouse to keep her life insurance and health benefits (ie dental, etc) until the divorce is final if she chooses to pay the difference.

In a nutshell, until the divorce is final, the military should give the spouse control over benefits which she has a right to as a military spouse.. whether the military member WANTS her to have them or not. Abusers use these benefits to further the abuse, and restrict her from getting the financial freedom she needs to take care of herself and leave the marriage. Further, she should be allowed to remand some of the educational benefits as well – given the HUGE amount of educational benefits military members now get and ALL that the military spouse gives up (ie jobs, school, etc.) in order to move around in support of him.

Keep in mind, military spouses give up their career options by virtue of being a military spouse. The career opportunities around military bases and median wages are at POVERTY levels compared to the rest of the nation (this is what I did my masters thesis on). This is the sacrafice that the military wife made in order to support her husband. Couple her dependence on him with abuse, and all the control the military gives to the member as he leaves the marriage….and you have just given him a match to light a bonfire.

And thank you OxDrover! Ive been a long time reader on LF, just havent posted much!!

kim frederick

tjk, Yes. That’s pretty much what I meant when I used the term trauma bonding. Thanks for your input. I couldn’t agree more.

The Phil Haberman case posted on was all about BAH fraud. Some commanders tried to help the spouse, but in the end, Haberman got away with most of it.

Elizabeth Conley


“While married and going through our court process, my ex drew family bah for over a year…”

Here’s your problem: it was NOT fraud to draw the BAH. He was entitled to draw it because you were still married. No matter what, you were NEVER legally entitled to his BAH. For some reason to which I am not privy, your family support allotment was not determined by the standard formula. There are so many reasons why this was the case, I absolutely refuse to speculate on your particular circumstances.

While it is standard practice for civilian courts in various states to assign you a certain percentage of his BAH, with a court order that varies from the military’s standard formula he has some wiggle room, depending on his/your individual circumstances. YES, YOU DID read that right! ANY OTHER LEGAL AGREEMENT regarding support negates that standard formula’s applicability to your case.

You see this problem from the point of view of an abused spouse of a military member. The military sees the problem somewhat differently, because they’re trying to deal with a broader spectrum of causes for marital dissolution.

Many things effect a spouse’s family support allotment. Here’s just a glimpse of the most obvious factors:

I haven’t spent my adult life in Lala Land. I could bore all present with awful stories about military members who’ve abused their spouses and children, and an equal number of civilian spouses who’ve abused and exploited military members.

Some of these cases are truly lurid, the sort of thing that sounds too profane to be true. A decade or more later I still won’t discuss them, because the victims deserve privacy and closure. Some things are too awful to put into print, although there must be a thick file on each case somewhere.


The point is, the current system is complicated, because it TRIES to be FAIR. Being fair is not the same is being equal, or finding a one size fits all solution. Being fair is DEFINITELY not always giving the ladies whatever they want.

You ladies were abused by sociopaths. (You say you were, and I believe you.) The fact that the sociopaths managed to manipulate the military system to make your life harder surprises no one.


If you slant the system in favor of the military member’s spouse, then you simply make things easier for the sociopathic, borderline and histrionic spouses to torment military members.

As a woman and a veteran, I can easily see the shoe on the other foot. Hypothetically: If a bed hopping civilian husband ditches a woman soldier with a walloping case of VD and the burden of a mortgage on a marital home she cannot sell, I don’t necessarily think he should be able to completely break her financially. Fortunately, there are currently protections in place to help her, should the situation arise.

The BAH issue isn’t strictly germane to cases of nasty military men and the poor, defenseless woman they victimize. There are an infinite number of circumstances under which military people and their spouses part.

Ox Drover

Dear Elizabeth C,

I hear you GF! It is also something that isn’t much different than the civilian courts that supposedly TRY to be “fair” and to give the CHILDREN the best possible solution between two divorcing parents, and look what happens, some pytchopaths are given full custody of the child and the nurturing parent is taken out of the picture, some spouses are trampled into the dirt financially, emotionally and morally!

BOTTOM LINE: Life AIN’T FAIR! Psychopaths take advantage of this problem. No matter what the situation is, Ps can find some way to SCREW it up to their advantage, or at least the disadvantage of the non-psychopath.

kim frederick

Yes, Donna. You’re right. It seems the article triggered some issues here.

Maybe there are reasons for that.

You said “Here’s your problem: it was NOT fraud to draw the BAH. He was entitled to draw it because you were still married. No matter what, you were NEVER legally entitled to his BAH. For some reason to which I am not privy, your family support allotment was not determined by the standard formula. There are so many reasons why this was the case, I absolutely refuse to speculate on your particular circumstances. ”

My ex drew family BAH when we were not living together. He was required to forward the difference between single BAH and Family BAH to me. He did not. He was in violation of the UCMJ, and was committing fraud. His first shirt told me this. His CO told me this. He told me this. There is documentation showing this. It is not my problem in understanding what was going on. It was clear that fraud was being committed and everyone knew it, and it was documented. It is a problem in the system, which this original poster also experienced, and is trying to address via suggestions to change the law.

Again, this is not “slanting in favor of the spouse” in a way that takes away a military members rights. It is simply enforcing the rights she is already supposed to have. she is suggesting that instead of just telling the military member they need to forward the bah to the spouse because that is the law, we eliminate the possibility of that fraud occuring, and get it into the spouse’s hands as the law intended.

The so called protections in place do not work. That is the point.

Elizabeth Conley

I think I’ve thoroughly stated the case for leaving military members with some due process rights regarding their family support payments.

There is nothing to be gained by restating the case again and again, ad nauseam. We must agree to disagree.

As a Marine, I found that my civil rights were abridged time and time again while in the service. It was deep and abiding relief that I hung up my uniform for the last time. I voluntarily surrendered many of my constitutional rights to serve, and it was with incalculable joy that I received them back again. The free exercise of my rights has consistantly proved to be my best protection against human evil. I am not willing to abandon any of my civil liberties simply to deprive a few bad people of their rights.

I understand that your perspective is different. You are entitled to your feelings, because you have clearly suffered much.



Thank you for posting my USSPA on your website.

I was most interested in the comments,for and against.

A few clarifing comments,on BAH- Fraud.based on the Reg.608-99(Army):

(e) The soldier is not receiving BAH”“WITH based solely on the financial support of the family members concerned or agrees to terminate such BAH”“WITH effective upon the date released from the support obligation.

It becomes government fraud,when a soldier fills out DD Form 5660,stating their spouse’s address,and they,and their commander state that the spouse is recieving the BAH-With support.

Regulation further states,that if they have recieved this money,and have not complied with the support,the money must be re-cooped to the Government.

The UCMJ,has clear guidelines for falsifing govt.documents.

Family non-support is the #1 IG problem.

The Army has just created an Abandoned Spouse Hotline. The Army is piloting this program in Korea,and “suspects military spousal abandonment is a worldwide problem”.

This is not my personal opinion,it is fact.

Not all commander’s,spouses,service members,are doing this.

99% are doing it right. However,I love the military,and my country.

My daughter is an Army Doctor,my son a Captain in the Ohio National Guard.

When evil exists,we need to do the Harder Right,rather than the Easier Wrong.

Thank you,

Kathy Mills

Leave no military spouse behind.

Ox Drover

Dear Kathy Mills,

Thank you for submitting your story to LF.

Psychopaths (and others) will take advantage of just about any loophole or anything they can do to further their own greed and desires.

I’ve seen both sides of the coin, with military husbands/wives who took advantage of the spouse and spouses who took advantage of the military personnel in order to get benefits or a green card, so it is a two-way street as to who is abuser and who is abused.

Good fortune on your healing journey and thank you for YOUR services to our country and your sacrifices, and your children’s. God Bless.


Dear OxDrover,

I agree,that there are 2 sides. However,all a soldier has to do is file for divorce to end his marriage.

A military spouse who husband is very protected by the Soldier Sailor Relief Act,and entrusted with extra pay,has all the cards.

99 % of the time it is the spouse that suffers.

My healing is in the helping of others.

I would appreciate your info and support on this issue.


Wow, this is intense. It is also wrong for Kathy to be treated this way regardless of the why. But I would like to respectfully submit it’s not just the military.

Just over a decade and a half ago I fell into the gravity well of a psychopath and his family, I call him Earl these days so I don’t forget what he’s done to me. After years of violence and abuse I was forced to file for divorce for my own protection. Therapy and counseling went exactly no where because he played his therapist so badly that his therapist called mine and said this is never going to work. His therapist hadn’t figured out exactly what the problem was, and things like Borderline Personality Disorder and so forth were being tossed back and forth. NPD or sociopathy never came up, but this was around six years ago they both agree that counseling was never going to work because he wasn’t going to take it serious. He was trying to game his therapist, at least THAT didn’t work.

Anyway I finally managed to get it through my head that I had to file for divorce for my own protection. He’d already fled the state and was staying with his parents claiming he needed space. What an idiot I was.

Divorce filed, retraining orders filed and approved, and he/they (his lawyer and parents) acted like they were above the law. To the point when weapons had to be involved when the process server attempted to serve him several states away. Thank God the process server was an off duty sheriffs deputy, or this might have been an ever more bizarre story.

Despite the restraining orders Earl and his parents proceeded to violate the orders six ways from Sunday as they flagrantly violated the law and court orders. They stalked me, his mother assuring me this would never get to court because I would be death and the paperwork made to disappear like me.

They leveraged power, money a privileged like only a Pathological could. In the end, he died before we could get to court, and I had to be erased before they could erase me. Starting over in my forties broken, homeless and unable to work. When he and I met I was making a good living in a decent career that I could probably still be in.

The system over all doesn’t work, not just the military side of it. So while my heart goes out to Kathy and her family and everything they’ve suffered we should remember it’s not just the military, and as other commenters mentioned, there are channels in the chain of command and the UCMJ that can be used. Just like there are supposed to be legal resources for civilians to use. Problem is they are as easy to game, and that’s what Pathologicals do best.

So yes, we all need to fight the good fight and stad for what is right, but we need to get the entire system changed.


Dear Greeneyed Girl,

you are right. Its not just the military. The Army is a reflection of society.

I believe however “we” expect more from the Hero’s we applaud in uniform in the airport. I love the “chain of command ” comment.

e-mail me and I will forward you the results of 5 years of the “chain of command”.

The chain works only as well as those in it.

The legal loopholes in military regulation have been perfected.
A soldier cannot fall into arrears without violating this regulation:

From Reg.608-99

Although the collection of arrearages
on violations of subparagraphs a(1) and (2) above may be enforced in court, there is no legal means to collect arrearages based on violations of subparagraph a(3) above.
Nevertheless, in all cases, soldiers should be encouraged, but not ordered, to pay arrearages.

Additionally, a soldier who falls into arrears may be punished under the provisions of Article 92 UCMJ for failing to make the support payment required by subparagraph a(1), (2), or (3) above at the time that the support obligation was originally due.

Punishment in such instances is based on failure to provide financial support when due, not for failure to pay arrearages.

A soldier can be ordered into combat…but not ordered to support his/her family with money,taken oh their behalf.

Whats wrong with the logic her.

Thank you for your empathy.

I am on your side.


Ox Drover

Dear Kathy,

QUOTE: “A soldier can be ordered into combat…but not ordered to support his/her family with money taken on their behalf”

What is the problem with the military issuing two checks…one to the military personnel for their pay and one to the spouse for their “share” of the support if they are living separate? Or deducting from pay any judgments obtained or like court ordered child support? I’m not familiar with the laws and I am sure you are, but it just seems to me that it would be a simple matter that the soldier’s family was taken care of as the law directed.

Also, a soldier/military person can be prosecuted for adultery is my understanding, so why can’t they be for non-spousal support with money intended for the family? Doesn’t make sense or logic to me either.


ElizConly: From Wednesday, 31 March 2010 @ 5:19am – you posted link to article about McNeil Island prison in WA state – as the crow flies, this is about 15 miles from where I live….



They oughta FIRE the whole GD lot of administrators and guards – for not catching THIS (“ongoing mystery,” my A$$!) ???? The nurse ought to have her license revoked and NEVER re-instated EVER, ANYWHERE, and go to prison, herself – for life, just for sheer stupidity!

And the stupid women involved that were forced (FORCED??!) to do porn, as directed BY PHONE, by Williams – jeez – STUPID PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BREED, that’s MY motto!~

man, am I pissed…

Our tax dollars, hardly at work!



And to Kmills – your article, argument and solution is MOST persuasive – I’m on board!


Thank you for your support.

The soldier can be punished,IF the Commander chooses to do so.

My case went to COL Kennenth Tovo,now GEN Tovo,who chose to look the other way. DD Inspector General is now investagating these decisions.

Most Commanders are busy running a war. The spouse is not a priority,especially to moniter the sociopath failure to comply,by IG suggestions. Remember,no one can order a soldier to pay,they can only punish him for not paying(personal decision).

A CHANGE in DoD policy is required.

Its not a fraud to take money if your married…it is fraud to sign DD Form 5960,saying you are providing support,while not doing it.



Hi everyone,

I have been reading all of your posts for quite some time. I am so grateful for all of your comments. I have learned so much.

I read this article and was compelled to write a post. My husband is in the national guard and has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His sociopath ex wife took full advantage of his deployments. During the first one, she got credit cards in her name with my husbands social secruity number, called Tricare (military health insurance) and stated that they were still married and sent in old court documents showing that they were seperated. When they question her as to who I was she told then I was their daughter even though I am older than my husband. to make a long story short my health insurance was suspended pending an inverstigation becuase two women were calling in claiming to be married to the same man. The list goes on and on.

Any law instituted against a soldier can be potentially devastating. I have heard and seen the horrors of war with military spouses taking the entire paycheck and blowing the money and not paying any bills. This is very common. The soldiers come home to nothing but debt far worse then what it was when they left. BAH is the only funds that is required to go to the spouse. If the soldier is in a combat zone and the commander finds out it is not, there will be major repricussions on that soldiers. I dont know of anyone who would dare risk this.

Sociopathy is a two way street. there are military spouses and ex spouses that will make the soldiers life miserble while fighting a war on the other side of the planet. My husbands ex wife underestimated me. I had my husbands back the entire time he was gone.


Katt – i can get a bit grim dealing day in and day out with the devastating consequences I face having tangled with the spath.

And your last line in you above post just made me smile and erased the grim for a second, because of the love it expressed.

‘I had my husbands back the entire time he was gone. ‘

Elizabeth Conley


I’m not going to comment further on the BAH issue, but I agree with you that the other case, totally unrelated, is very interesting.

Williams is one talented Sociopath. Imagine what he could accomplish if he used his powers for good.



I am not seeking a Law against a soldier. I am seeking a law to protect a military spouse from being abandoned”legally”,by a soldier.

The Army has just implemented the Abandoned Spouse Hotline in Korea. This is a pilot program. Spousal abandonment is thought to be a worldwide problem. Not my words,the Army’s.

If a soldier fill out a DD Form 5960,and is not providing the support-then the spose can petition DFAS directly,until a final divorce.

It prevents soldier fraud-and spousal abandonment for money.

It will take away any incentive to have a spouse,then abandon the spouse while collecting extra money.

Soldiers need to protect themselves from spouses,as you mention.

However its comparing apples/oranges.

I appreciate your support



my name is brandylyn – i have been fighting with the military for my rights as a spouse since my enlisted husband left me pregnant with our son in 2006

i can say from personal experience that spouses will have to fight tooth and nail for things which really matter.
i personally had to file an IG complaint against my husband to have our son placed on insurance for the first time as a three year old

now, five years after we were married i am writing weekly letters to the first shirt, wing commander and others begging for a divorce

the military can make my husband lace his boots and fold his briefs a certain way, but they cannot make him file for divorce when he’s had a secret spouse?

i will continue to fight but the wisdom i want to impart is – the military’s solution to a problem is to shoot it
i’m still kicking and kicking hard, you just have to be willing to go through mystifying levels of BS and crawl back from under the rug where they sweep you

military spouse abandonment isn’t just a problem in Korea and across seas, it is a very real thing on the homefront and i hope i can stand up for those of us experiencing it

(i also want to mention that kathy mills was a huge driving force behind my son recieving his dependant insurance, i learned a great deal from her – it’s my own fault that i had to gain inner personal strength to put it all to use now)


Keep fighting!!
I’m not familiar with any military issues……other than what I’ve read here on LF….so I can’t speak directily to this topic.
But….I can speak to finghting for what is right and just!
Your son deserves to be taken care of by what is rightfully HIS! You too!
So….damn it girl…..KEEP UP THAT INNER PERSONAL STRENGTH….and don’t stop until you get what you deserve and need!!!!
That….I can speak to !

And something tells me you are and will continue.

I wish you the best and much strength…..and just when you feel you can't write another letter or make another phone call…..I give send you the mojo to SHOW UP on the doorstep!


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