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Military divorce and support

| Aug 10, 2020 | Child Support

Servicemembers who end their marriage must deal with federal and Maryland laws. Additionally, each service branch has their own rules governing spousal and child support in a military divorce.

Generally, these regulations require service members to give adequate support to family members. But the military cannot enforce payments without a court order.

Each branch requires different support obligations. The Army also allows a spouse to divide support obligations equally if the servicemember has more than one support obligation. But a commander may waive requirements when a spouse makes more money than the soldier if the soldier is an abuse victim or if the family member is imprisoned.

DoD Support Enforcement Rules

The Defense Department prohibits payment of the basic allowance at the with-dependent rate to personnel who do not provide sufficient support to their dependent. Payments may be recovered for other times where there was nonsupport.

Obtaining a court order is the best assurance that a military member pays spousal and child support. If a spouse does not pay sufficient support, the court can issue a garnishment or involuntary allotment order to deduct support payments directly from military pay.

The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act provides some protections such as time extensions. If a servicemember cannot appear court because of deployment or overseas assignment, the court must grant a 90-day delay in any court action. Service personnel may apply for additional extensions.

Garnishment

Garnishment of the military pay of active-duty personnel must comply with Maryland law.  Federal law governs service or process and the type of pay that may be garnished.

Federal law limits garnishment to 50 percent of the member’s aggregate income for a workweek if the member is supporting a second family and 60 percent if there is no second family unless state law imposes lower limits.

Federal support allotments

Allotment are allowed from active-duty military pay to meet alimony and child support obligations. Spousal support alone does not qualify.

A statutory allotment may commence when child and spousal support payments are in arrears for at least two months. Allotments cannot go above 50 percent of pay if the member is supporting a second family or 60 percent if they are not supporting a family.

A spouse may surrender important rights if they are unaware of these laws. An attorney can help the seek a fair and reasonable divorce decree.