There are several options in providing for child support of minor children when one of the parents is in the military. One option is the traditional method of pursuing court-ordered support through the state court with jurisdiction. Please note that the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which mandates a stay on civil matters while a servicemember is on active duty, may interfere with the ability to quickly pursue a court order through a local court. A servicemember can elect to waive the protection provided by the SCRA and proceed with any civil matter, including family law issues, at their discretion. Any such waiver should be writing.
Another option is to reach an agreement on support. Written support agreements can be enforced through the military or the state court with jurisdiction. In a scenario where there is not an order in place for support and there is no agreement, the servicemember’s relevant branch of military can establish an interim support amount based on their regulations. All branches of the military maintain regulations that require a duty of support by the servicemember to their family/dependents. Most branches of the military have established support requirements that are tied to the number of dependents requiring support (spouse and minor children) and their gross pay and/or Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). This interim support may be less than what is provided pursuant to the child support guidelines in your jurisdiction. For this reason, it should truly only be used as a temporary means of relief with the intent to follow through with a court ordered support award as soon as possible.