NewsVoice for Veterans


Helping military families move across state lines and stay employed

military spouse
Posted at 3:37 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 18:42:34-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — There’s a national push to help service members and their families when they have to move across state lines. They want to make occupational licenses to be transferable.

“We are just trying to work,” said Nicolle Vasquez Del Favaro.

Favaro, a military spouse and attorney, knows firsthand how difficult it is to move and try to keep working when your industry requires an occupational license, which are not valid from state to state. Now, Favaro works with the Military Spouse Juris Doctor Network to help other spouses on the move.

“It’s very difficult to move when you don’t know that you will be able to qualify for a job in the state you are moving to and that you preemptively know you will have to jump through many hoops depending on the state,” said Favaro.

Getting licensed means hundreds of hours of training and compliance in many cases. For attorneys. It means taking the bar, which Favaro said is also very expensive.

It’s estimated that this problem impacts one in three military spouses, so when they have to move with their service member, which happens every 2 to 3 years on average, it can be a lot of work to get recertified.

“Think about it like a driver’s license. If I want to drive to Delaware, I don’t have to have a special stamp or some digital thing on the background of my driver’s license in order to drive into Delaware. That wouldn’t make no sense. Well that’s the same notion we are trying to bring,” said Terron Sims, an advisor on veteran & military life issues at Merit.

On behalf of Merit International, Embold Research surveyed registered voters and found broad support by Americans for reforms to the overly restrictive system of occupational license regulations.

The Maryland State Bar Association said they provide special two-year authorizations for a military spouse attorneys to practice under the direction of a Maryland attorney, and then they are required to take the Maryland Bar.

The Maryland Department of Labor has a specific expedited license review process for veterans, active members and their spouses, which takes on average 7 to 10 business days.

While advocates applaud these strides, they want to see reciprocity across the board to remove the barriers completely.

“The majority of these military spouses, it’s not their first move, so they’ve recertified in other states,” said Sims.

“We hold it down when our service members are overseas and we are happy to do that job. But we want to work. We went to school. We got our licenses. We took our exams to be able to work,” said Favaro.