Does Military Service Affect Spousal Support Payments?

military person and child

There’s a reason that the divorce rate for military spouses is over 50%. Sustaining a military marriage can be incredibly taxing when active duty spouses are deployed far from home for long periods of time. When a couple has to struggle through long tours of duty and countless anxieties about the future, it’s understandable that they may choose divorce as a solution to their relationship difficulties.

The military¬†divorce process can be surprisingly complicated if a spouse is deployed overseas. Fortunately, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) can protect servicemembers from coming home to an unfair divorce settlement. However, SCRA can’t make exceptions when it comes to paying spousal support payments. In fact, the United States military has remarkably strict rules when it comes to spousal support and child support obligations.

In Virginia, the court can award the following spousal support orders:

  • Temporary spousal support
  • Rehabilitative spousal support
  • Permanent spousal support

In Virginia, a judge may order a spousal support order if one former spouse is at an economic disadvantage due to the divorce. This order can be rehabilitative or permanent depending on the former spouse’s needs. This financial aid is intended to help the spouse live comfortably as they pursue new educational or career opportunities that may allow them to transition to a single income.

A servicemember can modify or dismiss this spousal support order under the following conditions:

  • Once spouse dies
  • The receiving spouse starts living with a new romantic partner
  • The receiving spouse remarries
  • The paying spouse faces a lasting change in their financial circumstances

Temporary Support Orders

Each military branch has unique rules and regulations regarding temporary spousal support payments. Servicemembers are still required to make payments even if a state court order hasn’t been issued.¬†For example, the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy order their servicemembers to pay their former spouses 1/3 of their gross pay. Likewise, the United States Army requires their soldiers to pay their exes the financial equivalent of their basic housing allowance.

The Consequences of Not Paying Spousal Support

All divorced military servicemembers are required to fulfill their court-appointed spousal support orders. Any servicemember who fails to provide financial support to their former spouse may face administrative discharge proceedings and wage garnishment.

Have Questions? Schedule a Consultation

Both Virginia law and the military have very complex regulations regarding spousal support. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller if you have any concerns about your spousal support order or need to request a modification. Our lawyer can also represent your divorce case and ensure that you attain a beneficial divorce settlement.

Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 267-4949 to schedule a consultation.

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