Divorce is always difficult, especially when you and your spouse have children. If the father of your children is in the armed services, know that the military considers child support a service member’s duty.
Officers can dole out punishments to those in their command who fail to support their children. Still, you will have to go to court to collect child support just as you would for retirement benefits
How courts determine child support
There may be military guidelines you can consult if you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent about child support. Most courts, however, ask you to look at state laws.
In Alaska, courts determine child support based on what your former spouse earns. Non-custodial parents typically pay 20% of their adjusted income for one child. For more children, the percentage becomes:
- 27% for two children
- 33% for three children
- an additional 3% for every other child
It is not wise to use a tax return because service members receive part of their income tax-free. Instead, present a Leave and Earning Statement to the court. The LES is a comprehensive pay statement that includes housing along with basic pay. It also lists other allowances.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act can help you collect support
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act entitles you to collect part of your former spouse’s pay. You also have a right to other things, including medical benefits and the use of the commissary. Once you have a court order, you can request direct payment from a military payment center.