My son is a poolie scheduled to ship out to Boot Camp on July 8, 2013. He wants to get married and live with his soon-to-be spouse off base once he is assigned to a PDS. He is concerned that if he waits until after Boot Camp, it may take too long to process the paperwork for his spouse, become eligible to live off-base and get housing allowance....in short, all the logistics around ensuring his spouse is recognized as his spouse. Should these two get married prior to Boot Camp, or wait until he has graduated and get married during the window between Boot Camp and SOI?

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He might want to check with his recruiter, getting married befor boot camp might change his enlistment eligibility.

You might also ask in the wives and girlfriends discussions what some of their experiences have been.

http://marinefamilynetwork.com/group/recruitwfg

Honestly either way it doesnt matter. I got married when my hubs was a cpl. It didnt take long. But it takes time to sit and have the paperwork filled out. So honestly he can want until he gets to his PDS cause it takes time to sit and fill out all the paperwork. And plus it gives their relationship time to see if they can handle the change.

Actually, I think the question is: Is she able to handle being in a new place, can she cope with the day to day stuff? The long hours,  lack of communication and holding down the fort on her own? I guess I am asking, does she have a clue what she is in for? Boot could serve as a sample of how things COULD be.

Amen Marinewife22 and alex2toes (Dianne)!!!! I think there waiting would definitely help to make sure they can handle the changes that will occur. Waiting til PDS would probably be a better option and the paperwork does take a while from what I hear. LazyK-Chyn has a point as well...it might change his enlistment eligibility.

I would say as long as it doesn't affect his enlistment anytime is fine. It all depends on the couple. My husband and I got married two months before he left.  He left Dec. 3 for boot camp. The paper work wasn't that bad. It was just a matter of getting all the appropriate documents in order and to the recruiter. I have been with my Husband since high school and we are 25 now. So we knew with out a doubt that we wanted to get married. If they are really ready to get married, the distance, long hours, etc. won't matter. I've heard of people getting married right after boot camp and during MOS school too. None of them had any problems, but that doesn't mean there won't be complications. Everyone's situation is different. Hope this helps!

Brittany, I think you kinda proved my point. If they are capable of handling things, go for it. There was no mention of age, so I kinda hedged my answer, just in case she was just out of high school. 

Thanks for all the replies and helpful feedback! To add more context:

1. My son and his girlfriend are still in High School so my inclination is to advise him to wait until after Boot Camp since he does not really have a career, salary and benefits until then

2. I think she is ready for the challenges of being a military spouse but can never tell until it occurs; they are hell bent on tying the knot, though and since they are of age, I cannot actually stop them.....not that I would, she is a great young lady. I just have been encouraging them to wait until after BC.

Let this dad throw a couple of added items into the mix, based on posts that I've read in the past.

1. If he is assigned a PDS in Japan, she will NOT be allowed to accompany him. Accompanied tours in Japan are restricted to SGT and above, and it would be nearly impossible for her to receive permission from the Japanese government to move there or get a job without being on his orders. She would not be allowed any access to the bases or support facilities, and would not be eligible for a job on base.

2. If his unit is scheduled to deploy, would she want to live in area where she does not know anyone?

IMO, they would be better off waiting until he gets to PDS and gets situated.

As far as the paperwork goes, getting the ID cards and DEERS paperwork will take about a day, if that long.

Due to his rank, they probably would not qualify for on base housing, and might have to get permission from his unit to live off-base.

Just my experience.  My husband and I got married shortly after he arrived at his first PDS.  I'm really glad we waited until we did, partially because we were both able to save up money for travel, first month's rent and deposit, furniture, etc. but also because he ended up getting injured in boot camp and he spent a whole year on the recruit depot where I couldn't be with him anyway.

The only advantage that I can see to getting married sooner is financial.  Once they're married, he will rate Basic Allowance for Housing. If they're married before he gets orders to his first PDS, the military will also pay for their moving expenses. If they're already married, it may be slightly less likely that they give him an unaccompanied tour overseas, but that really depends on the needs of the Marine Corps at the time.

As Jeff said, getting registered in DEERS is pretty easy and quick as long as you have the correct paperwork (official marriage certificate, a couple forms of ID).

I have had a different experience than what Jeff mentions about base housing. Whether or not on base housing is available really depends on the base. Some have waiting lists, some don't. Rank can affect how long the wait is. Where I am, Captains and Majors tend to have the longest wait. Junior Enlisted (Privates, PFCs, Lance Corporals) often have the shortest. I've never heard of a married Marine at his PDS needing command permission to live off base if he rates BAH. However, Marines at MOS school often are required to live in the barracks and would need permission to live out in town.

My general suggestion to those considering marriage is to do some pre-marriage counseling with a pastor or other third party. We found it extremely helpful to get advice and suggestions for discussion topics from someone other than friends or parents. Here are a few military-specific questions I would suggest.

1. What are our expectations for deployments/long training schools? Will the spouse remain at the base or move back with family?

2. What job or school options is the spouse expecting? What if we are stationed at a more remote location with few options?

3. What will our financial situation look like? Can we live on just the military income if necessary? What lifestyle expenses (cars, clothes, entertainment, travel, etc.) are important to each of us and are they realistic? What are our long term financial goals? (A recruiter should be able to give an idea of what the average PFC or Lance Corporal would be looking at for take home pay.)

4. What happens if we get married before boot camp or before MOS school and the Marine Corps doesn't work out due to an injury or other circumstances?

I know everyone's situation is different, but I like to have as much info and think about as many scenarios as possible ahead of time.  I hope that's somewhat helpful.

Me and my Fiance are not getting married until June 16th, he left for boot Jan.14. Many people and friends that are Military spouses themselves told me that it would've been a better idea to do it before he left. I wanted to wait (to afford a better wedding) but now I'm running across many issues. If your son and his fiance are linked financially, he should make her POA for everything. That's been a huge issue for me. Most of the downsides to waiting are financial, but now I found out that if he leaves for his MOS school before our wedding it may be postponed for as long as 2 years because he cant take any leave during it. Circumstances matter. Being straight out of high school, they probably don't have those kind of circumstances to rush it though.

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