Crazy Ex-Wives and DIY Divorces

I divorce thee.  I divorce thee. I have my own printer and I can divorce thee any time I want.

In an unbelievable story of military love and betrayal, Staff Sgt. Zachariah Siemers allegedly invented a new way to divorce your wife in the military. The Army tanker may have bypassed the pesky court system and drafted his own divorce decree.

According to this story, the relationship was clearly over:

“Siemer finished his his assignment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, moved to Kentucky and started a family with another woman.  While still married to his wife of 20 years Marla Siemers.”

The mother of Siemer’s four children was cut off from medical benefits and income.  She protested:

 “No one would believe me,” Marla Siemers said. “They just thought I was the crazy ex-wife trying to cause trouble or get money.”

As it turns out, she wasn’t the ex-wife.  That divorce decree is a forgery. It was allegedly authored by her husband, the man now living with his second wife and their two children at his duty station in South Korea.”

Marla Siemers says that until she got a lawyer, no one believed her story.  No kidding.  I’m sure the powers that be figured Marla was just another of the legion of crazy ex-wives that become part of every command.  It wasn’t until a copy of the fraudulent decree was obtained by the lawyer and “spoon-fed” to the Army that anyone officially took notice.

 “Zachariah Siemers was charged March 26 with seven violations of military law: dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, larceny, forgery, fraud by submitting a false claim, bigamy and adultery, according to an email from an Army prosecutor that Marla provided to The News Tribune.”

A few crazy ex-wives and ex-husbands will always be a part of military life–that’s what a generous benefits packet will do sometimes.  So I can understand the military inclination to disbelieve an outsider.  It is kind of like when medical students are told to look for the horse, not the zebra.  They are educated to look for the more common symptoms of diabetes or heart disease rather than some unnamed autoimmune disorder.  Same thing in the military: if the service member is squared away, it is easier to tack the crazy-ex-wife tag on the case. That saves time.

But not every ex-wife is crazy. Not every unlikely story is a piece of fiction. Marla Siemers story demonstrates that sometimes a uniform can blind even other service members to the truth.  If you are being treated like a crazy ex and your story is true, convince a reputable attorney first.  Then get ready for the long haul.

About Jacey Eckhart

Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Military.com. Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at JaceyEckhart.net.