Child Support in Military Families

Posted on January 20th, 2020 by Laura Peters

Figuring out child support is never an easy process, but military families face a special set of challenges and considerations. According to federal regulation, all U.S. service members are required to financially support their children. Contact Giannola Legal LLC to speak with our family law lawyers in Cook County, Illinois, and the surrounding counties.

Calculating Child Support Obligations

Even in military families, each parent’s child support obligation is calculated using state laws. Child support laws vary from state to state, but all states consider the parents’ income in the support calculation.

It’s important for both parents to understand that military service members’ income is structured differently than most civilians’ income. In addition to a base salary, service members receive a Basic Allowance for Subsistence (“BAS”) and a Basic Allowance for Housing (“BAH”). These monthly payments, as well as any other allowances the military parent receives, are included in the income calculation.

Interim Support Measures

Once a divorce and/or child support case has been filed, it may take some time for the court to hear the evidence and actually order one party to pay child support. If the non-military parent needs financial assistance from the military parent during that time, he/she can apply to receive interim support measures.

The amount of interim support awarded will depend on which branch of the military the parent belongs to. Each branch has its own way of calculating payments. However, the interim payments are almost always lower than what the state court would order.

Making Support Payments

Given the ever-changing nature of service, military members should have a plan in place to make sure they can send their child support payments on time, even when they’re deployed. One way to do this is through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”), which lets military parents schedule automatic withdrawals (also known as voluntary allotments) from their income each month. Your Giannola Legal LLC family law attorney in Cook County, Illinois can help you set this up.

Failure to Pay

If a military parent fails to meet his/her child support obligation, the nonmilitary parent can contact his/her commanding officer. Because the military requires all members to provide financial support to their children, commanding officers have the power to punish service members who do not fulfill that duty. Commanding officers can impose a wide variety of disciplinary actions on delinquent parents, potentially even a court martial.

Like all child support issues, it’s always best to consult an experienced family law attorney for help in your unique case.  Contact Giannola Legal LLC’s family law attorneys in Cook County, Illinois today.

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