Family should be defined by the servicemember. This would inlcude extended family members.
Too often "family" is defined as a spouse. Many service members reside with their parents who suffer the ill effects of a loved ones deployed. In addition, many service members are in committed relationships, but not married, their loved ones should receive the supports needed to cope with the deployment and reintergration. By allowing a service member to define his/her family, it would ensure that the appropriate persons receive needed support.
This is crucial. Extended family often end up with the service member in their homes, and dont know how to support, respond to, or cope with their veteran who is struggling with mental health issues. The strain on these family members is extreem, and often ignored. A healthy informed family member who gets the help that they need is in turn able to better help that veteran in crisis. Currently there is no support given to extended family members who end up caring for their vet who has TBI/PTSD. That leaves many families standing like deer in the headlights, wondering what to do, how to understand what the vet is going through, or how to help. So many of our recently returning veterans are single because of age, or already divorced because of their PTSD and it's effects on marriage. That leaves them to depend on their extended family for shelter and support. Why are threse family members not being helped?
Family is important and it should be defined - even when a servicemember is married, parents should be included in the family component for information.