If your spouse (or child’s parent) is on active duty in the military, you may be able to seek support through the military. Each service has implemented dependent support guidelines that provide different levels of support. The Navy’s Dependent Support Guidelines provide generous support amounts for dependent spouses and children (that exceed the amount a state court would likely provide in most cases). Conversely, the Air Force has no dependent support guidelines while the Army and Marine Corps’ dependent support guidelines provide some (but not much) family support.
Dependent support through the military is only available in two situations: (1) if there is no state court order in effect; and (2) there is no support agreement between the parties. The military services are not family courts and defer support issues to the courts. The military dependent support guidelines are intended to provide temporary support to dependents until the parties are able to resolve the matter by agreement or through the civilian courts. In short, military dependent support in Bethesda is intended to be a stop-gap until the state court with jurisdiction over the matter can decide the issue.
Dependent Support Guidelines for each military service:
Navy: The Navy has implemented its Dependent Support Guidelines in its Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) at Chapter 1754-030. The Navy’s Dependent Support Guidelines are more generous than the other services’ support guidelines. The Navy requires its sailors and officers to pay a portion of gross their pay as dependent support according the following table:
For the support of:
a spouse only: 1/3 of gross pay
a spouse + one child: ½ of gross pay
a spouse + two children or more: 3/5 of gross pay
one minor child: 1/6 of gross pay
two minor children: ¼ of gross pay
three minor children 1/3 of gross pay
The term “gross pay” includes the service members’ basic pay, basic allowance for housing (BAH), if entitled. “Gross pay” does not include basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), hazardous duty, foreign duty or incentive pay. (MILPERSMAN at 1754.030-4(b).)
For example, if a sailor earns $2,700 per month as basic pay and receives $2,100 per month as BAH. The sailor’s gross pay would be $4,800 per month. The military spouse would be entitled to $1,600 (1/3) as dependent support – even if the spouse is working and the parties have no children together. If the parties have one child, then dependent support would be $2,400 per month (1/2 of the sailor’s gross pay) and $2,880 for a spouse and more than one child (3/5 of gross pay).