A couple of things, her ex invoked the SCRA, which says:
(a) COURT ACTION UPON MATERIAL AFFECT DETERMINATION- If a servicemember, in the opinion of the court, is materially affected by reason of military service in complying with a court judgment or order, the court may on its own motion and shall on application by the servicemember--
(1) stay the execution of any judgment or order entered against the servicemember; and
(2) vacate or stay an attachment or garnishment of property, money, or debts in the possession of the servicemember or a third party, whether before or after judgment.
(b) APPLICABILITY- This section applies to an action or proceeding commenced in a court against a servicemember before or during the period of the servicemember's military service or within 90 days after such service terminates.
This stay is not determined because of deployment, or anything other than active service. The court has the authority to grant it, or not, or anywhere in between. From what I understand some courts automatically grant it, others require documentation on the servicemember not being available. Delaying or moving forward is not up to anyone but the couort, or the servicemember. The court can proceed, the servicemember can proceed, but for anyone elese, it is out of their hands.
Support. The Air Force does it differently, they require adequate support, adequate support can be anywhere from nothing to everything, that is up to the discretion of the Commanding Officer. The Army requires that the spouse receive an amount equal to the basic Allowance for housing. The Navy/MC also does it differently, but it is up to the individual service. The Army goes one of two ways, if there is no court order, than the BAH amount is the number, it is one of those two. The rock and the hard spot would be you cannot get a CO because of SCRA, and you have to rely on the regulation.
Using her ex's rank, and langley AF base, he would have received 2148 a month for a basic housing allowance, he would have received 1665 if he was single. Someone somewhere determined that the difference in those two numbers was adequate. She was stuck with that, because of the SCRA, any court actions were delayed. He could have speeded them, but she could not. In the Army, using that formula, for 24 months of seperation, he would have been owing her 51,552 for support alone.
The Army looks at it as a part of combat readiness. It is not allowed to be a gray area. Sort of like a zero tolerance policy. If the Army is not going to take care of families/spouses why would families agree to stay. You see it both ways, you see the soldier who gets raked over the coals, and you tell them to follow the letter of the law, and only give what they are required to keep them out of trouble. You see the spouse who will complain about everything, from not having cable to the water tasting funny, and they will call the Platoon Sergeant over every little thing they do not like. They will try to use the Chain of Command as a tool to derail the spouse or get them in trouble. You have to balance that, and the only way to do that, is to follow the regulations.
They agreed on a course of action, to move to VA, and combine their lives. They agreed that she would give up her job, her place to live, and to move to VA where he was workign and living. A joint decision, she could have stayed, but then so could he. But it is a decision they made. Things take a turn for the worse, she moves out. Doesn't matter where, it should not be means tested, it is the concept of support while seperated. Property division, whatever the laws of the state where they filed should apply.
Why does this number seem so far out there for support, while seperated, and property in settlement. Without addressing what she would have, could have, should have done, how is it supposed to work.
She files for support, for property division, and it gets delayed due to him, for however long. When it is time, a lot more time has passed where they were seperated, but that is partially because of him. The marriage was actually not 13 months, it was longer, but that included the marriage, and the seperation.
The reality is that a few grand is two months of support, and if anything turned into 50K, it is because of actions he took, not her. The judge may say, you get nothing, but the judge is looking at what he sees, her ex is able to present whatever he wants. Neither should benefit from this, when divorce happens, both people lose. If the seperation was two years, 50K sounds like not so much a number, when it comes to support/property. But we do nto know how much was brought by each into the marriage, how much each retained as seperate. All the should have would have could haves will not unring any bells.
Seperating all the where she went, what she did, etc. Using two years of seperation as a rough number, using the money he received from the military to support his family, and community property, what would be fair????
Eligibility for military benefits is not a gray area. DOD has decided who is eligible, who is not. There are no worthy of it criteria, no should get, or should not get, it is just eligible/ineligible. No one has to like it, but as a military member you do have an obligation to follow it.