Each of the military services has guidelines requiring its service members to support family members upon separation unless there is an agreement or court order that does not require them to pay. 

If no support is provided by the service member, the spouse seeking support can request assistance from the service member’s commander, and if that fails, the local JAG office or the Inspector General. 

Unlike court-ordered support, military family support cannot be garnished and the commander cannot actually force a service member to pay to the spouse. However, a service member who fails to pay could be reprimanded under Article 92, UCMJ for violation of a lawful general regulation.

Do I Have to Provide Spousal Support to an Abusive Spouse if I am in the Military?

If you are in this situation and there is a documented account of the abuse, the military may not require you to pay spousal support to the abusive spouse. However, if doctors, courts or military family advocacy case management teams have never verified the abuse, the military may require you to pay spousal support to the civilian spouse. Speak with a military lawyer to discuss your rights. 

Do I Have to Provide Spousal Support if my Civilian Spouse Makes More Money than I Do?

If after a divorce, the civilian spouse makes more money than the military spouse, the military spouse’s commander may release the military spouse from having to pay spousal support to the civilian spouse. However, your commander may choose not to do this for various reasons.

What If My Spouse is in Jail?

If your spouse is currently in jail, your commander may release you from having to pay spousal support. Although your commander has this authority, he or she may choose not to for various reasons.

My Civilian Spouse and I Have Been Separated More than 18 Months. Do I Still Have to Pay Spousal Support?

If you have been separated from your spouse for more than 18 months, and have made all the necessary financial support payments during that time, your commander may release you from having to pay continued spousal support. Although your commander has this authority, he or she may choose not to release you from this obligation for various reasons.

Does the Military Require me to Pay Spousal Support?

Each of the military services has guidelines that require members to provide adequate spousal support to family members. However, the military has absolutely no authority without a court order to enforce an individual to pay such support if the individual does not want to pay. 

If a military member fails to provide the spousal support, the military can discipline an individual, but such penalty is usually protected under the Privacy Act of 1974 and the military is not allowed to disclose the penalty with anyone.

How Does the Military Decide How Much Support I Have to Pay?

How each branch determines how much support service members have pay varies. The amount of support that will be ordered is often connected to the service member’s pay grade or rank.

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Military Family Support Issue?

Because of the special circumstances of military life, it may be wise to consult with an experienced family attorney. Speaking with an experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and help you deal with the complicated legal system.