Military families face a unique set of circumstances when it comes to child support, especially when military branches consider it a service member’s duty to financially support their dependents, regardless of custodial or marital status. If you or someone you know is on active duty and is currently going through a divorce, you may have questions about child support.
What is the Military Member Service Relief Act?
Under the Military Member Service Relief Act, in any child support case, a spouse must perform a name search through the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center. This shows whether the other spouse is on active duty. If you do not know where a military parent is, you can access the World Wide Military Locator Service to find the active duty military member’s address. Serving divorce papers or a child support order is not sufficient enough under the Military Member Service Relief Act.
How is Child Support Usually Handled?
When a parent is in the military, more than likely the parent will be ordered to pay child support if he or she does not have custody of the child. Child support payments, like any other child support case, will be calculated based on the income of the parents. Calculating child support payments can take a lot of time, so military parents will be required to make interim child support payments. These are payments made before the court issues a formal child support order.
What if the Military Parent Fails to Make Payments?
If the military parent fails to make these interim payments, the civilian custodial parent has the right to send a notice to the military parent’s commanding officer. The commanding officer may then punish the service member for failing to make payments. Punishments may include a decrease in pay and extra duty rounds. However, the commanding officer cannot force the service member to pay.
When the court finally orders child support payments, interim child support payments will be overridden. If the service member misses several months of child support, the civilian custodial parent can go to court to try to enforce a child support order. If the court orders wage garnishment, the civilian custodial parent can send the order to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The DFAS allows military parents to voluntarily set up a certain amount of money that is automatically withdrawn from pay that will cover child support. If the court orders wage garnishment, the DFAS will then subtract child support payments directly from the service member’s pay.
If a parent is struggling with obtaining child support, it is advisable to contact a lawyer right away.
Bel Air Child Support Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Represent Clients with Child Support Issues
If you are going through a divorce and have child support questions, our experienced Bel Air child support lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help. Our dedicated lawyers will fight for your rights and will get you a settlement you can be satisfied with. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve families throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.