Alabama Military Divorce FAQ
When a military servicemember or spouse of a servicemember is considering a divorce, there are often many questions regarding particular considerations involved in a military divorce. I am frequently asked how spousal support and child support are considered and addressed in a military divorce.
In any divorce action involving minor children, the parties and the Court must consider the issue of financial support for the benefit of the minor children of the parties. In Alabama, unless there is good cause for deviation or the parties agree otherwise, child support is calculated in accordance with what is known as Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, which provides a formula for calculating child support in consideration of each parties’ gross monthly income, work-related child care expenses, and health insurance expenses for the minor child. In a military divorce, it is important to note a servicemember’s gross monthly income includes military allowances, and the fact that such allowances are not taxable or subject to garnishment are not appropriate considerations. Additionally, veteran’s disability benefits received in lieu of military retirement benefits are properly included as income for purposes of determining child support obligation.
Military Spousal Support
Spousal support, also referred to as alimony – whether periodic or rehabilitative – may also be at issue in a divorce action. Many factors go into the consideration and calculation of spousal support in a divorce action, primarily the receiving spouse’s need for support and the paying spouse’s ability to pay said support. These same considerations are at play in a military divorce action.
Further, each branch of the military provides guidelines for the service member’s support of their family when there is no court order in place. These are administrative regulations adopted by the military services that state what to do in the absence of a court order or agreement for family support, both child support and spousal support. For example, Marine Corps regulation provides that “the Marine Corps will not serve as a haven for personnel who fail to provide adequate and continuous support to their family members.” The Marine Corps support regulations provides a table setting forth its policy for interim financial support standards based on the total number of family members entitled to support, which provides a minimum amount of monthly support per requesting family member, as well as the share of monthly BAH/OHA per requesting family member. Similarly, the Navy’s nonsupport policy provides that, in the absence of an agreement or court order, a unit commander may use a guide set forth by the Navy to determine the adequacy of the servicemember’s support. For example, the Navy’s guideline for adequacy of support provides that for a spouse and two or more children, the servicemember’s support to their family is 3/5 of his or her gross pay with “gross pay” in this context referring to the servicemember’s base pay and the BAH, not including the basic allowance for subsistence, hazardous duty pay, sea or foreign duty pay, or incentive pay.
Contact the Military Divorce Lawyers at New Beginnings Family Law
At New Beginnings Family Law, we understand how stressful and devastating a contested divorce or uncontested divorce and child custody issues can be for a family. Our team is committed to providing a caring and comfortable environment where you can feel safe to talk about your case and your goals for the future.