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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 19775
Experience:  Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
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Was wondering if in air force if officer and enlisted can

Customer Question

was wondering if in air force if officer and enlisted can get married.They not in same chain of command. one is services and other is aircraft maintenance, and are located at different bases. I see these marriages all the time and wonder how and if there is any repercussions for the marriage if there is no prior dating.
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: one in Alaska and other is new mexico
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Military Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. You can read the AFI on fraternization, and other "unprofessional" personal relationships, at the following link: http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_ja/publication/afi36-2909/afi36-2909.pdf

But, to summarize, dating and sexual relations between officer and enlisted, regardless of whether they are in the same chain of command or location, is per se a violation of fraternization rules. The fact that they get married is not a defense, nor is it proof, in and of itself of fraternization. (Please pay particular attention to 5.1.3 and 5.1.3.1 of the instruction). However, at NJP, for example, the proof required for punishment is only a preponderance of the evidence, which is more likely than not. Therefore, it wouldn't take much evidence to establish a dating relationship and the CO does not have to suspend their common sense in order to make the decision.

All that said, it is not uncommon, in the AF, for CO's to look the other way with officer/enlisted marriages as long as it is not an issue otherwise (same chain of command or causes rumors or trouble of some sort independent of the issue itself). But, that is not a guarantee that your case would be one of those that would be ignored. That I can't say and it would be up to the respective CO's of the two servicemembers. The way the instruction is written though, the onus is more squarely on the back of the Officer though in the relationship. So, that means it would be more likely that any consequence would be against the Officer in the relationship since they are held to a higher standard. But again, you can read the instruction yourself and see that unless there is absolutely no evidence that the two servicemembers involved have ever met face to face, which is doubtful, there is always a chance that their marriage could result in an investigation and potential punishment for one or both.

Whether the chance is worth taking is up to the servicemembers based on what they know about their respective CO's and their attitudes about these issues. Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 6th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies, or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.

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