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What Are the Military Marriage Laws and Rules?

Military marriage. Getty Images
Military marriage. Getty Images

You're in the military and planning to get married. Or you're planning to marry a service member. Congratulations! But are there any military marriage laws or military marriage rules you need to know before you tie the knot?

Military Marriage Laws

There are no laws governing military marriage. Military members can marry whomever they want, including same-sex partners.

Military Marriage License

There are no military marriage fees and you do not need a special military marriage license. If someone has told you he or she must pay a military marriage fee, or that you need a special license, you might be the victim of a romance scam.

Military Marriage Rules

There are military marriage rules for some groups of people who are in the process of joining the military. Cadets at military service academies are not permitted to marry until they graduate as a member of the military or otherwise leave their academy. Otherwise, there are no rules on whom or when military members can marry.

A set of rules also govern "military fraternization." Among other prohibitions, those rules generally say that an enlisted member and an officer cannot marry. However, there are many exceptions to this policy. For example, if two military members are married and one of them later becomes an officer, the relationship is acceptable. Military members who want more information on this rule can consult their base legal serivces office.

There are also rules about when military members can have their civilian husband or wife stationed with them. Troops cannot take their spouses on their deployments. Some duty stations, particularly those overseas, may be categorized as especially dangerous and not allow family members, or may block family members because there is not enough family housing. In those cases, troops are sent on "unaccompanied" move orders.

There are also rules on who can receive a military ID card and military benefits. To receive a military ID card and benefits, including health care, a military spouse must be legally married to the service member. The military does not recognize common law marriage or engagements.

Registering a spouse for benefits is free. If a service member has told you that registering for benefits carries a fee, you might be the victim of a romance scam.

Now that you know there are no military marriage laws and are familiar with the military marriage rules, you can start your happily-ever-after.

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