Service members going through divorce have to consider many financial issues, including determining how much child and spousal support they will be paying each month. In addition to State law, military regulations also set standards for the financial support of dependents during and after divorce. It is important to understand when these regulations apply and the requirements you must meet.
“Financial support” refers to required support payments for service member dependents aside from state law directed child support and spousal support. It is determined by a court order, written mutual agreement, or in accordance with regulations by each military branch. A service member who fails to pay financial obligations runs the risk of committing military crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Support During Separation
Upon separation from a spouse, a service member may be required to pay financial support for the spouse and children, depending on the circumstances. Separation is generally determined by the date the spouse and service member cease living together or the service member is ordered away from the residence.
The rules for determining how much the service member must pay differ for each branch of the military and Coast Guard. Generally speaking, any court order setting forth financial support obligations for a service member is controlling. Absent a court order, any mutual agreement between the spouse and service member is controlling. Absent a court order and mutual agreement, the following rules determine how much financial support is due. These rules apply only if there is no valid court order or mutual agreement.
Garnishment for Child Support and Maintenance
Child support and spousal maintenance payments are controlled by state law. Military pay can be garnished for child support and maintenance. Some forms of military pay, such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and (BAS) Basic Allowance for Subsistence, are exempted from garnishment. A full list of funds exempt from garnishment is made at 5 C.F.R. §581.104. Depending on the circumstances, up to 50-60% of a service member’s disposable earnings may be garnished.
Understand Your Rights and Obligations
As a parent, you no doubt want to make sure you do everything necessary to take care of your children. You may be less excited about paying your ex-spouse money every month. The attorneys of Divorce Lawyers For Military have the experience in State and military law to help you understand all your rights and obligations regarding financial support. We will make sure your support obligations are fair and meet the requirements of Washington divorce law and military regulations. We will also strongly oppose any requests by your spouse for excessive and unreasonable spousal support.
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