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Should You Move When Your Spouse is Deployed?

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Deciding whether to move when your spouse is deployed comes with several considerations. It's not just about moving from one place to another; it's about figuring out what's best for you and your family during this challenging time.

Whether you're thinking about moving back home for a while or staying on or near a military installation, we provide key factors to consider before making your decision. We will look at the pros and cons of moving during a spouse's deployment, discuss the benefits of being closer to family and friends for support and identify tips to help organize a move by yourself.

Can I go with my spouse on deployment?

Military spouses generally cannot accompany their partners during deployment, especially in combat zones or operational deployments where the primary focus is on military operations.

Deployments of this nature often involve locations with heightened security risks, limited infrastructure and strict operational protocols, making it impractical and unsafe for non-military personnel, including spouses or family members, to be present.

There are instances where military families can accompany service members on certain types of assignments, but these are not typically classified as "deployments" in the traditional sense.

Can I visit my spouse on deployment?

Whether a spouse can visit a service member during a deployment largely depends on the nature of the deployment and the location. For most combat or operational deployments, the answer is generally no due to security concerns, the environment and the mission. These types of deployments are often in conflict zones or areas with limited infrastructure and services, making it unsafe and impractical for civilian visits.

In some non-combat deployments, such as those to overseas bases in more stable regions or during certain long-term assignments where service members are stationed in non-combat areas for extended periods, there may be opportunities for spouses or family members to visit.

Staying On-Base When Your Spouse is Deployed

Many military bases or installations offer family housing designed to provide a secure and community-oriented environment for military families. If your spouse is deployed but you are already living in on-base housing, you typically can continue to live there during the deployment.

It’s important to know access to on-base housing varies by rank, family size and availability. There may also be waitlists, especially in popular or densely populated areas. Let’s look at the benefits of living on a military installation while your spouse is on deployment:

  • Safety and security: Living on a military base comes with strict security measures. All residents and visitors must comply with base access controls and other security procedures.
  • Healthcare: Military bases provide healthcare services through military hospitals or clinics. In emergencies, there are protocols to ensure that families can receive immediate care and support.
  • Support services: Family support centers on the base offer various services during deployments. These services can include counseling, financial advice, educational resources, and childcare support.
  • Military community: One of the benefits of staying on a military base during a deployment is the sense of community. Many families are going through similar experiences, which can foster a supportive environment where people can share advice, friendship, and assistance.

Each military service branch and base may have its unique policies and resources, so it's important to check with the specific base's housing office or family support center for detailed information.

Moving Home During Spouse Deployment

Military base housing isn’t for everyone, and it may make more sense for you to move closer to friends and family. Let’s take a look at the key benefits of moving home

  • Family and social support: Being closer to your extended family and friends can provide emotional support during the challenging times of your spouse's deployment. If you have children who might need extra care and attention in their parents' absence, this can be a huge advantage. Military units also have Family Readiness Groups that provide information about deployed units and help link additional resources or services available to military families.
  • Cost savings: You might save on living expenses if you have the opportunity to live with family rent-free or at a reduced cost. Additionally, you may be eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which could cover your housing costs off-base.
  • Familiar environment: Being in a positive environment can reduce stress and provide a sense of normalcy during a deployment. You might find comfort in a place that is well known, with access to your favorite community resources, amenities and activities.
  • Privacy and independence: Living off-base or moving back home can offer more privacy and a sense of independence. You might appreciate the opportunity to create a life that is not as closely intertwined with the military structure and community.

It's important to weigh these benefits against the potential challenges, such as the emotional difficulty of being away from the support systems available within the military community or the logistical complexities of moving, especially if the deployment is for a shorter period. The decision should be based on what best supports you and your family during your spouse's deployment.

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5 Tips For Moving While Spouse is Deployed

Moving homes can be intimidating in the first place, but having to move by yourself can be downright frightening. If you're a military spouse, that might be the reality at some point in your life when your spouse is deployed.

"I am an active duty military spouse with two children and six 'on my own' moves under my belt," said Roxanne Reed, Executive Director of the Military Spouse Foundation and Marine Corps spouse. "I’ll be honest — moving stressed me out to no end in the beginning, but now I see it as a time to clean out, reorganize and start fresh."

Here are several tips and precautions you can take that will make the moving process smoother and easier.

1. Plan and Organize Early

Begin planning your move as soon as possible. Create a detailed checklist of everything that needs to be done, including sorting and packing belongings, arranging for a moving company or rental truck, setting up utilities at your new home and managing any necessary address changes. It’s best to keep this checklist in a secure place or PCS binder. An early start can help reduce last-minute stress and ensure you have enough time to handle unexpected issues.

If you are buying a new home, make sure the home meets all your wants and needs beforehand. It’s also important to understand power of attorney and how this affects your homebuying journey when your spouse is deployed.

2. Seek Support from Friends and Family

Don't hesitate to ask for help. Friends and family can offer practical support, such as helping with packing and moving, as well as emotional support during this time of transition. If you're moving to a location where you don't have a personal network, consider reaching out to community groups or social networks for assistance and camaraderie.

Family Readiness Groups are a great resource during a move. While each group is unique and has different capacities, they all share the goal of providing information about services available through military installations.

3. Utilize Military Resources

The military offers various resources to support families during moves, including relocation assistance programs, financial assistance and counseling services. Contact your spouse's unit or the base's Family Support Center to learn about the resources available to you. These services can offer valuable information and support to make your move easier.

4. Stay Connected with Your Spouse

Although your spouse is deployed, maintain open and regular communication to keep them involved in the moving process as much as possible. This can help you both feel more connected and make joint decisions about the move. Use technology to your advantage, sharing updates, photos or video calls to discuss plans or simply to stay in touch emotionally.

Family Readiness Groups work directly with the leadership of the deployed organizations. This close relationship allows for access to relevant information firsthand. You also don’t have to be on installation or in the same state to be a member of these groups.

5. Take Care of Yourself

Moving alone is a significant undertaking, especially during a spouse's deployment. It's crucial to prioritize your well-being. Allow yourself time to rest, engage in activities you enjoy and seek emotional support when needed. Whether it's through a hobby, exercise or connecting with friends, find ways to manage stress and keep a positive outlook.

Remember, it's okay to feel a range of emotions during this process. Be patient with yourself and recognize the strength it takes to manage a move alone under these circumstances. Embrace the opportunity for personal growth and the chance to set up a comforting home environment for your spouse's return.

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Veterans United is recognized as the leading VA lender in the nation, unmatched in our specialization and expertise in VA loans. Our strict adherence to accuracy and the highest editorial standards guarantees our information is based on thoroughly vetted, unbiased research. Committed to excellence, we offer guidance to our nation's Veterans, ensuring their homebuying experience is informed, seamless and secured with integrity.

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