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Military Divorce Part 2: Substance Abuse, Domestic Violence, and The Importance of Resources

In our part 2 on Military Divorce issues,  Modern Law’s Billie Tarascio and Tucson-based Matt Randle, our go-to Military Divorce Expert, discussed the subject on the Modern Divorce Podcast. In this part, the focus is on the challenges tied to substance abuse, domestic violence, and the importance of the vast resources available to service members and veterans.

Resources for Victims of Domestic Violence

The military community is robust when it comes to providing resources, especially to victims of domestic violence. As Matt detailed:

  • The military offers a plethora of mental health resources available on base, free of charge for both the spouse and the service member.
  • The influence of these mental health services within the military community is not to be underestimated. When they intervene, it puts everyone on notice.

Understanding the Root Cause

It’s important to recognize the reasons behind domestic violence incidents in military households, Matt says, saying he had some personal experience as a veteran. In many cases involving PTSD, the perpetrator is not necessarily trying to exert control over another but struggling to control themselves. Recognizing the root cause can significantly influence how one should move forward.

Substance Abuse and The Military

Substance abuse, particularly alcoholism, is not uncommon in the military. While the military has comprehensive free resources specific to substance abuse:

  • It’s essential to note that even legal substances in civilian life, like marijuana, are not tolerated in the military. Using such substances can lead to severe consequences, including the potential end of a military career.

VA Resources

Matt highlighted the availability of the VA’s vast resources. From mental health to substance abuse, anger management, and general medical care:

  • For the first year after their service, every veteran has unhindered access to these resources.
  • Beyond the first year, depending on the disability percentage, veterans continue to have varying levels of access.
  • Matt further elaborated on the Choice Act, introduced by by the late Arizona Senator John McCain. If the VA cannot provide the necessary treatment or test within 30 days, they must refer the patient to an outside service provider, covering the cost.

VA Healthcare for Non-Veterans and Dental Care

Matt touched upon the availability of Champ VA, similar to tricare, for dependents and spouses of veterans. This becomes crucial when considering factors like spousal maintenance and insurance availability during a divorce. Moreover, while the VA generally doesn’t offer dental services, there are specific cases where it’s available, or the Choice Act can be invoked for external dental providers.

Matt emphasizes the importance of understanding the multifaceted challenges faced by service members and veterans in a divorce setting, especially when substance abuse and domestic violence are involved. Resources, both within the military and the VA, can play a pivotal role in navigating these challenges.

Once again, we extend our heartfelt thanks to Matt Randle for shedding light on these critical topics and for his continued dedication to helping those in the military community. At Modern Law, we believe in empowering our clients with knowledge, ensuring they make informed decisions during life’s most challenging times.



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