Dear Ms. Vicki,
I am just starting this new military journey with my fiancé, who is enlisting in the Air Force.
I was wondering: When would be a good time to get married? Before he goes to the Military Entrance Processing Station? After MEPS? Before his ship date? After he goes to tech school?
I have heard some very scary stories on this subject. For example: If you get married before MEPS, they may not let him join.
Or if you wait to get married after MEPS, they will mess up your paperwork and they will not recognize that he is married until he has served at least two years.
Or if you wait until after he’s finished tech school, it will take months to do all the paperwork and get it processed.
I want to get married before he goes to basic training, but I don't want to ruin his chances to join!
Ms. Vicki, I really need help and some clarification.
Sincerely, A Lost Un-Wed Soul
This must be stressful and frightening. Most of the things you have heard are rumors.
I’m not saying paperwork cannot get mixed up. After all, this can happen as long as there is a human element involved, right?
The truth is that the choice is yours as to when you get married. You can marry him before or after Basic Military Training(BMT), or when he has completed all of his initial training schools.
Now, please allow me to advise you about what new spouses say worked best for them. Keep in mind that many service members have spouses and children before they join, so getting married will not be an obstacle to joining.
Most new spouses say it was less stressful to get married after the service member completed basic and other initial schools.
Either way (before or after basic), your husband will need to talk to his administration section and show his marriage license to them.
He will also have to show the same information to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) office on base/post so you will be eligible for a Military ID card, health care (Tricare), etc.
DEERS is a computerized database of military sponsors, families and others worldwide who are entitled under the law to Tricare benefits. Your husband is automatically enrolled. You will be eligible as the wife of a service member.
Military.com's Spouse section has all kinds of information and ideas for MILSOs, fiancees, partners and new military spouses, so keep visiting the site.
Sincerely, Ms. Vicki