In addition to the specific reasons for waiver of dependent support provided by each military service, there are more general defenses to a complaint for support that may be asserted. If your spouse is threatening to contact your command and claim that you have failed to provide adequate support, your first defense is to appeal to your mutual self-interest. If you are expected to provide support, your spouse is hurting your ability to do so by undermining your career. The income and benefits that you and your spouse enjoy (including health insurance and a pension) are no longer available if you lose your job because you were declined promotion. If your appeal to mutual self-interest fails, there are other defenses.
First of all, you are required to pay the amount stated in any court order or separation agreement. If there is a court order in place, then you cannot pay other bills instead of the support amount ordered. However, if there is no written agreement you may receive credit for paying expenses on behalf of your dependents (like a car or auto insurance payments, rent or mortgage).
The “shared bills defense” requests that the Commanding Officer reduce the support required by the amount paid for shared family bills the service member. It allows the service member to deduct some or all of the shared expenses paid by the service member. If the lease or mortgage is in the name of both parties, then both parties are legally obligated to pay it. Just because you move out of the apartment or house, does not mean you are no longer obligated under the lease or mortgage. If the Commanding Officer is not willing to provide credit for the entire rent or mortgage payment, consider requesting credit for half the rent or mortgage since both you and your spouse are equally responsible for this obligation (at least until the lease is terminated).
Assuming that you have recently separated (or you are considering moving out of the family home) and there is no court order or a separation agreement, there are some basic rules about dependent support claims.
(1) There is no duty to provide support payments if you are living with your dependents.
(2) There is no duty to provide support for a child who is not your child (unless you have adopted the child) or who is over 18 years old (unless an Agreement or Court Order states otherwise).
(3) If you are providing a government housing unit to your dependents, Army Regulation 608-99 does not require any additional support from the service member.
It is uncertain how the Navy Dependent Support Guidelines interpret providing government housing to dependents. Is the monetary amount of the service member’s BAH counted as part of the support paid? Or, does the “gross pay” exclude the BAH when the service member is not receiving it and dependent support is calculated without considering the BAH the service member surrenders in exchange for the housing unit.