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Thursday, June 27, 2013
I don't know about you, but one of the things I told my custody evaluator about my ex is Mary McCarthy's famous remark about Lillian Hellman--"Everything [s]he says is a lie, including the ands and the buts."
My custody evaluator chose not to believe me, as he did with most protective mothers. And I do understand why. My ex always lied with a smile on his face and this good buddy "heh, heh, heh!" on his lips. He said the most outrageous things, and people believed him.
The one big lie I thought was pretty low was his lie about his military service. When I first met my ex, he would sometimes tell me stories about his military service, what he thought of it, what the experience was like, etc.
At one point, he called the town clerk trying to get out of paying taxes by saying that he was a veteran and deserved a break.
He would show up at welcome the veterans to school day at our kid's school and talk about his service, etc.
He had it listed on his resume, right at the end along with personal items. At Church gatherings he would stand in a circle with other veterans and talk in serious tones about all the struggles he had gone through.
It was only after my divorce that I stumbled upon the papers that exposed the big lie about his military service. No, he wasn't lying that he'd actually served in the military; it's just that he did not get an honorable discharge.
I was so amazed! He'd been lying about it for decades! To be honest, I think it is rather pathetic. Of course, for veterans who actually put in their time, served their country well, and truly did deserve the respect they received, I am sure my ex would have simply made them angry.
This is something that you should seriously consider during your divorce. If you don't have any documentation regarding your ex's military service, contact the branch of the military where you think your ex served and a) find out if he actually did service his country, and b) what kind of discharge did he receive. It may be a small point, but it is worth making as far as I am concerned.
Here are a few of the most common kinds of discharges:
Honorable - To receive an honorable discharge, a service member must have received a rating from good to excellent for his or her service. Service members who meet or exceed the required standards of duty performance and personal conduct, and who complete their tours of duty, normally receive honorable discharges.
General - General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a considerable departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action. If you appeal a general discharge, you can sometimes have it upgraded to an honorable discharge.
Other Than Honorable - An OTH is the most severe form of administrative discharge. This type of discharge represents a departure from the conduct and performance expected of all military members. OTH discharges are typically given to service members convicted by a civilian court in which a sentence of confinement has been adjudged or in which the conduct leading to the conviction brings discredit upon the service. It can also be given as the result of certain civil hearings, e.g. divorce for adultery.
Dishonorable - A dishonorable discharge (DD) can only be handed down to an enlisted member by a general court-martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g., desertion, sexual assault, murder, etc.) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.
I think it is important for any custody evaluator to consider issues such as whether a parent received an honorable discharge from the military or not.
Definitely, an evaluator should consider if a parent is lying about their discharge as well or misusing a faked military record to obtain social or financial advantages to which they are not actually entitled. Below is one website where you can request military records. I am sure there are others.