When couples are engaged in a divorce proceeding, it is not uncommon for a spouse to withdraw money from a joint bank account, or the higher earning party to engage in tactics that prevent financial support to the other spouse. However, in combination with civil action in your divorce proceeding, military action may also be taken in your case. If you are engaged in a military divorce and your spouse is refusing financial support, contact your divorce attorney immediately to discuss your options in pursuing contempt and enforcement actions.
If you are going through a divorce with a military spouse and they have withdrawn financial support from you or your children there are two different avenues for you to seek financial aid. You may file a temporary relief motion with the civilian court, claiming the need for temporary alimony and child support, or you may also file with civilian courts a motion for contempt and enforcement if your partner is already subject to a support order. However, you may also seek action through the military channels for additional support. Therefore, you are entitled to seek both court action and military chain of command support if found in this financial predicament. However, the military support or order is a temporary means of action, generally, only put in place until the parties can be seen before a state court judge to find a permanent solution and enter a judgment on the matter. Therefore, even if you do seek military aid, ensure you follow up with your lawyer to solidify the support arrangement.
If your military spouse has abandoned you, or is withdrawing financial support, your first step is to consider the branch of military they are in and determine their particular rules regarding support matters. For instance, Air Force requires members to “provide adequate financial support to family members” and their commanding officers are required to advise them of this responsibly. The Army also requires soldiers to provide adequate financial support to their families, in addition to “Maintaining reasonable contact with family members so that their financial needs and welfare do not become official matters of concern for the Army [and] conducting themselves in an honorable manner with regard to parental commitments and responsibilities.” The Marines and Navy have specific formulas to determine the amount of support each member is entitled to provide for their families. The Marines’ formula is to divide the total BAH received by the total number of family members, then multiply the number of family members requesting the support. That number will provide the command with the appropriate amount the requesting spouse is entitled to receive. The Navy calculates the amount by determining the gross pay of the member, and the number of family members requesting support.
After determining the amount you may be entitled to under the specific branch of military, you must then contact the military member’s chain of command. They are required to discuss the situation with the military member and seek a resolution. They are able to encourage the service member, or punish them in the form of evaluations, judicial and non-judicial remedies. If no action is taken, then you may speak to a chaplain, or the victim advocacy center on base. If neither of these avenues produce results, you may seek final action with the JAG office and request punishment under Article 92 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice for failure to support.
Refusing to financially support a spouse during a divorce proceeding carries civil penalties, however, military spouses may face other issues as well, which may encourage their compliance and support. If you are experiencing difficulty obtaining financial support from your military spouse ensure you discuss your options with your family lawyer and how to properly proceed to protect your rights.
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