Published: September 9th, 2020

What to Expect When Facing a Military Separation Board


There may come a time in the life of a serving military member when he or she is under consideration for being discharged or separated from their military command. The reasons why this administrative discharge may occur are multiple, which can make facing a military separation board for the first time a daunting task. This is why it is highly recommended to come to a military separation board well-prepared by bringing a civilian military lawyer who not only understands all the intricacies of separation boards but is skilled and assertive enough to defend you from the administrative separation board.


What Exactly Is a Military Separation Board?

If you have been recently told that you are being considered for administrative separation predicated off of misconduct then it means that you may potentially face an Under Honorable Conditions or Other Than Honorable discharge from the military. This usually takes place when incidents of misconduct have occurred and been officially reported via letters of reprimand or negative evaluations. The separation board begins convening if evidence pointing to misconduct exceeds 50% of incidents.

Medical Separation Boards

Military discharges can also be caused by medical issues such as illness or injury severe enough to impact military performance. In these cases, it is possible to be discharged or separated under General or even Honorable conditions. However, no separation board will occur in these cases. A separation or administrative discharge board hearing will only occur if the officer in question is being recommended for separation Under Honorable Conditions or Other Than Honorable conditions.

What is a Separation Board?

A separation board convenes in order to decide if the serving officer in question is still fit to serve military duty, usually due to conditions of alleged general misconduct.


The Details of a Military Separation Board

While each branch’s separation boards are slightly different (ie: Army Separation Fact Sheet), the officer being considered for discharge or separation is officially designated the Respondent in this scenario. The Respondent is automatically granted hearing with a separation board so that he or she may defend themselves against the prosecution.

Separation Board Prosecution

The prosecution of a military separation board works differently than from a normal court of civil law. The administrative discharge or separation board is made up of three different members that are all senior in rank to the Respondent.

It is also important to keep in mind that there are other criteria that grants the Respondent access to a hearing such as the Respondent’s Rank and time spent in the service. Also keep in mind that these criteria differ depending on the service. The Respondent can also be granted hearing at a separation board if the cause for the discharge pertains to matters of national security.

The Rights of the Respondent at a Separation Board

One of the most important things to know when facing a military separation board is your rights as a serving officer and as a Respondent. There are seven rights that you should keep in mind as you make your preparations.

7 Rights You Have When Facing a Military Separation Board
  1. You have the right to appear to the separation board with or without legal counsel.
  2. You have the right to submit a statement on your own behalf as the Respondent whether it be oral or written.
  3. You have the right to testify on your own behalf. Alternatively, the Respondent also has the right to remain silent.
  4. You have the right to request the appearance of witnesses in your favor at the separation board hearing.
  5. You have the right to submit a dispute with any voting member of the separating board based on just cause, for example by proving that a member is incapable of making fair, impartial or objective decisions during the hearing.
  6. You have the right to question any witness during the separation board hearing or have a member of the counsel question any witness on your behalf.
  7. You have the right to submit evidence on your behalf in the form of sworn or unsworn statements, depositions, affidavits, certificates, etc.
what to expect when facing a military seperation board

Civilian Military Defense Lawyer

Why a Military Defense Lawyer is Important When Facing a Military Separation Boards

While preparing yourself in advance when facing a military separation board by understanding your rights and collecting evidence and statements is helpful for any Respondent, there is no denying the simple fact that the very best thing you can do is get yourself a lawyer who is experienced in military law defense, particularly when it comes to separation boards and administrative discharge.

While you have every right to defend your case all on your own, as mentioned previously, it will be far more beneficial to you to have legal counsel on your side with experience in military law (court martial defense, board of inquiry, and more). This will greatly increase the odds of you coming out on the other side of the separation board.

Contact Court & Carpenter

America’s Best Reviewed Separation Board Advocates*

At Court & Carpenter we have an experienced and aggressive military defense lawyer team that will do everything in their power to make your case as airtight and ironclad as possible during your board separation hearing. Our team knows how to collect evidence, provide thorough cross-examinations and attack allegations as effectively as possible.

*america’s best reviewed according to avvo.com

Feel free to contact us online through our free consultation form or by calling us at 1-206-357-8434 so that we can get started on your case as soon as possible.


Court & Carpenter


Military Defense Lawyers

Military defense lawyer, Court & Carpenter, is a top-rated, military only law firm. Court & Carpenter specializes in the UCMJ, Separation Boards, Courts-Martial, and more.

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