Military parents have the same obligations as civilian parents when it comes to supporting their children financially. When they try to evade that responsibility, you may encounter special challenges because military spouses are employed by the federal government, and there are certain steps that you need to take to collect outstanding child support.

How much child support to pay?

New York has specific guidelines that the court uses to estimate how much child support each parent has to pay. When one parent is in the military, calculating the amount owed can be more difficult because they can receive benefits that aren’t treated as earnings. Examples include food and housing benefits. In some cases, their children may receive military benefits and allowances. Your New York family law attorney can help you address these complications when it’s time to assign a child support amount.

Serving a child support order

Once a child support order has been issued, your military ex is obligated to follow it, just like a civilian. While many military parents opt to have the amount automatically withdrawn from their pay, others renege on their support obligations.

If this happens, then you can write to your former spouse’s commanding officer and request assistance. Be sure to include copies of the child support order and evidence of any written refusal to pay. The commanding officer can penalize your spouse for failing to honor their support obligations, including the following measures:

  • Reduction in pay
  • Reduction in rank

All branches of the U.S. military require enlisted personnel to support their dependents, and those who refuse to pay child support could find themselves facing court-martial for offenses such as:

  • Bringing discredit upon the armed forces (Article 134)
  • Failure to pay a regulation or an order (Article 92)

These measures may correct the situation, but it is important to note that the military cannot force your spouse to pay child support unless you obtain a court order.

What if they still refuse to pay?

If your spouse ignores all efforts to make them pay child support, then you can apply to the court for a wage garnishment order. Once it issued, it can be sent to Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which will deduct support payments directly from your spouse’s paycheck.

If you are having problems dealing with the child support aspects of a military divorce, then contact a New York child support attorney who can advise you on how to seek a wage garnishment order. Your children deserve the best possible future, and fighting for their right to support can make that happen.

Contact Jayson Lutzky, P.C. if you have military-related child support questions. Mr. Lutzky is a Bronx, New York family court and divorce lawyer with over 37 years of experience. He has helped many highly satisfied clients over the years as evidenced by their numerous referrals. Call 718-514-6619 to learn more.