How the Military Affects Childcare and Alimony

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Military Divorce
This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.
How the Military Affects Childcare and Alimony

In typical circumstances, determining alimony and childcare can be difficult, but it’s even more complex in military divorces. The courts consider military service for both spousal maintenance and childcare; and military divorce attorneys are uniquely skilled at helping their clients navigate the system. To learn more, read Charlotte Christian Law’s blog.

What is alimony?

Alimony is a payment that one spouse makes to the other after the marriage has ended. The money ensures that the receiving spouse has the same standard of living that they had before the divorce and the courts do not consider it a punishment to the paying spouse.

What is child support and custody?

Child support is the amount that the higher-earning spouse pays to the other for the child’s care. The court decides the amount based on the amount that both parents earn, the cost of raising the child, and any other necessary expenses.

Child custody refers to how parents spend time with children, whether physical or legal, joint or shared. Physical custody determines where your children live and visitation schedules, while legal custody handles significant decision-making.  

Alimony & the Military

While a civilian divorce takes a look at both salaries to decide alimony, military divorces are different. For instance, the court will not divide your Veterans’ Affairs disability compensation, combat-related special compensation, and most disability retired pay.

However, the court may divide your pay for child support and alimony. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act does require you to pay alimony. Still, it caps the amount to 50% of your disposable retired pay.

Additionally, the military does have policies that require you to support your family after you separate in case you don’t have an agreement or court order. These policies are temporary, so we highly recommend seeking an attorney to help you with alimony.

Child Support & the Military

Even though you may be in the military, you are still obligated to pay child support. You will have to comply with the payment, or the military will garnish your wages. However, there are interim plans until you can reach an agreement with the court and your child’s other parent.

The military has interim plans until you can obtain a court order. However, the provisional measures may have a lower payment than state guidelines. Once you have a court order, your child support will be similar to that of civilians.

To calculate how much you would pay, you will need to determine the amount you earn and add it up to get a complete annual total. You can then consult Alabama’s child support formula and multiply the total income by the allowable percentage for each child.

Child Custody & the Military

Child custody can be difficult for service members, especially since deployment can affect visitation schedules and other existing arrangements. Regarding your children, the best thing you can do is work with your co-parent before you are deployed.

It’s crucial to work with the court to ensure that your children receive the best possible care. Remember that child custody agreements are held to state law, not federal. If you would like to relocate with your child, you will need to work that out with your ex-spouse and the court.

Additionally, you may benefit from a family care plan that you and your former spouse can work through. This plan should describe who will provide financial, medical, and logistical care for your children and discuss what to do when you are away on military duty.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

While handling alimony, child support, and child custody can be overwhelming, you have some benefits as a military member. After the passage of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you now have some protection while you are deployed.

The act states that no one can bring civil court proceedings against you while you are on active duty or within ninety days after you are deployed. You can get a delay, also known as a stay, of court proceedings if your service affects your ability to proceed in the case.

To protect your rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, you must file an affidavit with the court. The affidavit should state that you are in military service, and once filed, you are protected from a default judgment until you have an attorney.

Speak to an Expert

Military divorces can differ from civilian divorces, especially concerning alimony, child support, and child custody. To best understand what works for your situation, speaking with an experienced family law attorney is crucial.

An experienced, empathetic divorce attorney can help you work through the process and ensure that you get everything you need from the divorce. Here at Charlotte Christian Law, we will help you give your family a better life. 

Getting a divorce can be daunting, but we will help you take the next step in building a better future. Connect with us online or at (256) 330-6966. Move to a brighter future with clarity and confidence.

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