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Don't take your spouse's ID during a military divorce

When you and your spouse got married, you sponsored your spouse to get them a military ID card. You had to put in the application to ask for the card, and it got approved.

Then your spouse asks for a divorce. They move out of the house. You assume that you can take that ID card back. You sponsored them, after all, so you're responsible for them getting it in the first place. You confiscate it and don't think you have done anything wrong.

You could be in for a surprise; this is actually highly illegal. Congressional law determines who can have a family member ID card. It is not up to you and it never was. Congress has the last say. You cannot violate that by taking a card that they approved.

If you do, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) actually states in Article 121 that you could end up getting larceny charges.

As a general rule -- there are minor exceptions -- the divorce is going to lead to the loss of that ID card eventually. When the marital split is finalized, the privilege of owning the card can be revoked. You and the government are on the same page here and working toward the same outcome. The key is just to leave it up to the authorities who are actually in charge of this process. Wait for them to act and never take things into your own hands.

This example shows just one way that a military divorce has its own special rules. Make sure you fully understand your rights at all stages of the process.

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