I EMPATHISE with the writer of the autumn Army&You postbag letter who discussed the lack of support available for military spouses during divorce.
I was married for 26 years and have three grown up children, two still living at home. My husband decided he didn’t want to be married and moved into the mess, whereas I now have to search for somewhere to live.
I have followed him around the world, accepted the months and weeks he was away, often at short notice, without fuss.
I was there for the knock-backs and promotions and supported him throughout his career. His decision means I have to move out within 93 days with no help, no guidance, nothing.
I have spoken to SSAFA, the welfare office and Citizens Advice, all to no avail.
Spouses are not a priority on the local authority’s housing list, yet Service personnel are.
The only way I would fit the criteria for help is if my children were younger or I wanted to harm myself. Otherwise, I’m kicked to the kerb and just have to get on with it.
This is in direct conflict to the response given by the Armed Forces Covenant team in the autumn letter, which states: “Department for Communities and Local Government guidance makes it clear that it expects councils to consider the wider needs of the Armed Forces community and to be sympathetic to changing family circumstances…”
My questions are:
1) How do they expect councils to consider a spouse’s needs?
2) What are the considerations they are asking councils to make?
3) How do they know whether there is a lack, or not, of consideration made to the spouse?
4) What do they do about a lack of consideration by the council to the spouse?
The response goes on to say: “The MOD has a standing commitment to continue working with the families federations to gather further evidence on the inclusion of divorced spouses.”
When did this evidence gathering start and when is it likely to end? Does this suggest that evidence gathering isn’t happening?
My treatment has been appalling. I have absolutely no respect for all the support sections that I believe are tick boxes only, just to meet service level agreements.
I have taken my case to my local MP and I won’t stop until my plight is noticed.
Name and address supplied
AFF comment: We have referred this to the Covenant team who will respond to the family directly. The issues for separated and divorced Army spouses are high on our agenda and we will be highlighting these issues to the Local Government Association. Look out for updates at aff.org.uk
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