Paying Child Support While Serving in the Military

Child Support Lawyer

Serving in the military is stressful enough, and if you’re dealing with a vindictive ex who wants every last cent out of you, you might need to contact a lawyer who can make your life a little easier. But before you dive right in to a (potentially) expensive and drawn-out legal battle, you need to learn all you can about how a divorce affects military personnel, especially when it comes to your children.

As a child support lawyer Kansas City, KS like our friends at the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A. can explain, some things never change, no matter your walk of life. You still have to provide for your kids and ensure they have the best opportunities possible, even if you’re stationed on the other side of the world. This can make divorce particularly painful for service members who just want to make sure their kids grow up right.

How is a Military Divorce Different than a Divorce in Civilian Life?

If you’re going through a divorce while serving in the military, you might be surprised to know that the procedures are largely similar to what you might see in a divorce in civilian life. However, there are a few key differences that you should be aware of. It’s much more difficult to win joint custody of your children if you’re serving in the military, and there are some military-specific punishments that you might run into if you fail to pay your child support.

What is Joint Custody?

Typically when a pair of parents divorce, they have to battle it out in court if they want to have custody of their children. This means one parent will be the receiving parent (the one who takes care of the children, feeding, clothing, and ensuring they go to school and doctor’s appointments as needed, to name a few of their necessary tasks) and the other parent will be the supporting parent (the one who pays child support and only sees their kids according to a set schedule of visits).

If you and your spouse are ready and willing to set your differences aside for the good of your children, you can come to a joint custody agreement. This means that instead of one parent spending the most time with the kids, you’ll both split the kids across an even amount of time, and you’ll both share an even hand in ensuring your kids grow up right. But if you’re serving in the military, joint custody might not be feasible.

In order for a court to award joint custody to a divorced couple, the couple needs to prove that they’ve both spent an even amount of time raising their children – and they also need to prove that they live in a close enough proximity to make a joint custody arrangement work. If you’re being moved around because of your job (i.e. your military service), it’ll be hard to convince a court that joint custody can work.

What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support While in the Military?

Your legal team will drive the importance of paying those child support payments – especially if you’re serving in the military. If you fail to make your child support payments, your ex can report you to your commanding officer. Of course, your ex will have to provide evidence of your failure to pay child support (and evidence of your child support arrangement), but when word gets to your CO, you could be in for a rough time.

Failing to pay your child support while in the military can mean demotion, extra duty, and reduced pay. And if you think your military wages are safe from garnishment, you should know that there’s a specific exception for child support payments. If your ex goes through legal channels to get your money, you could end up paying child support without even knowing it – until you get your paychecks and you see you’re earning a lot less.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer Today

A divorce can be overwhelming, especially when you combine it with the stresses of military life. If you’re facing a divorce, you should contact a child support lawyer who can fill you in on any questions you might have. Knowledge is half the battle: Get in touch with a qualified child support lawyer ASAP.