The AAFSW Family Crisis Fund, established in 2015 (and financed by donations), helps pay for emergency expenses such as groceries, utility bills, partial rent payments, or one or two hours of legal consultation.
Under the leadership of Lara Center, AAFSW President, Sheila Switzer, AAFSW Foreign-Born Spouse State Liaison, Dr. Joanna Athanasopoulos Owen, AAFSW President Emeritus, and under a strict rule of confidentiality, spouses are encouraged to reach out to AAFSW and Celine Erickson, Spouses in Transition Chair, when in situation of distress, usually during a separation or divorce, to find support navigating through these challenging transitions.
Divorce within the Foreign Service community always involves legal challenges that can complicate the process, especially when there are children involved. Relocation, when a trailing spouse wants to return home with the children, often with no moral or financial support from their spouse–a commissioned officer–is always a challenge. Every year, Foreign Service spouses reach out to AAFSW for help in a situation of crisis, usually during a separation or divorce. Some American and foreign-born spouses find themselves under unforeseen and appalling situations of abandonment, with their family and friends spread out within the U.S. or abroad, preventing them from receiving any financial or moral support.
Although divorce will likely continue to be a challenging process, AAFSW is committed to supporting separating and divorcing family members in the U.S. or abroad, through mediating and negotiating among State Department’s Family Liaison Office, support groups and family lawyers’ networks.
Please contact us below with questions or needs.