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Can I get child support from my ex-spouse who is in the military?

Caring for a child is a rewarding experience, but it comes with a high price tag. That's why after a divorce, many Minnesota parents still rely on the other parent to help with the expenses involved in raising their offspring. Collecting child support may seem impossible if the noncustodial parent is overseas serving in the military. Is it still possible to receive support and, if so, what are the steps to take?

Child support laws are much stricter for military personnel than civilians. Military members are held to high standards and are required to pay child support even if they are married. If there is a court order, the noncustodial parent must pay the child support. The custodial parent can involve the commanding officer if needed. After several months of no-payment, the custodial parent can go to court and contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Child support will then be automatically garnished from the military member's pay.

Even if there is no court order in place for the child support, the custodial parent should let the other parent's commanding officer know about the delinquent child support. There is a formula for calculating interim payments based on housing and wages. Those who refuse to pay their monthly payment can be punished. For example, they may receive a reduction in pay or face a lower rank due to their refusal to follow orders.

In some ways, collecting child support from a military member is easier than collecting from a civilian. By communicating with the courts as well as your ex's commanding officer, you can receive payments in a timely manner so you have the money you need to support your child.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Child Support: Key Legal Issues," accessed July 11, 2015

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