When a military career ends prematurely it can end in an administrative separation which can have a significant and negative impact on military members, their lives and futures. There are two types of administrative separations military service members should be familiar with including administrative separations and punitive discharges.

Administrative separation is a non-judicial process. A discharge, on the other hand, usually occurs after a judicial conviction or a court-martial which can include a dishonorable discharge. An administrative separation can occur for a variety of reasons including a pattern of misconduct; insubordination; drug abuse; weight issues; nonperformance of duties; or poorly performing duties.

Notification of the administrative separation process will be made in writing and include the basis for the separation and the recommendation for the characterization of the military member’s service. The characterization of service is a characterization of the individual’s military service. This is important to be familiar with because of the significant impact this categorization can have on the military member and their ability to obtain veteran’s benefits. The reason for the separation will also be stated. There are three categories of separation including honorable; general which is considered under honorable conditions; and other than honorable.

Military law can be complex but may have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of military service members and their families so it is important to understand and be familiar with as much of it as possible. Trained guidance can also help military service members navigate some of these important challenges they may face.