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Child Support & The Military FAQ

Enforcement of child support with respect to active military personnel is different than that of enforcement of civilian child support. First and foremost, locating the military individual can be difficult.

Locating the Military Parent and Service of Process

When a parent is on active service it may be difficult to locate their whereabouts. One could contact the local armed services recruiting office, a former unit office, or the World Wide Military Locator Services to assist in locating the parent. When looking for the military parent it is necessary to know their full name and social security number. Once the parent is located, they will need to be served with a divorce complaint. In most states, one can serve the parent by way of the U.S. postal service. Some states do require certified or registered service of the complaint.

Determining Child Support

Military duty cannot be used as a method for avoiding family or child support obligations. However, the determination of the amount of support is considered a civilian matter. Each state has different child support guidelines to determine the amount of support that the custodial parent is entitled to receive. The military parent’s pay and allowances are considered in the determination of child support. Because military pay is not taxed, state guidelines based upon gross pay may have to be adjusted upward in order to provide a more equitable award for the custodial parent.

Collecting Child Support

The collection of child support from the military parent is governed by military rules. The military rules generally require that the military parent pay child support as ordered by the court. Some branches of the military actually make it a crime if the military parent fails to honor their support obligation. The military parent could comply with their support obligation by way of voluntary allotment, paying the obligation, involuntary allotment, or by garnishment.

Miscellaneous Information

Military personnel are not protected from U.S. court proceedings establishing child support obligations. Treaties with other nations may provide a custodial parent with the opportunity to work with foreign offices to pursue their child support matter. Child support obligations are determined based upon the military parent’s total compensation and benefits, as well as by other state specific guidelines.

  • What Is A Divorce?

    Divorce is a court process to legally end a marriage. In Arizona, divorce is called “Dissolution of Marriage.”  A divorce proceeding will address the division of community assets and liabilities including retirement benefits and spousal maintenance. When there are minor children, it will also address custody, parenting time and child support.

  • What are the Grounds for Divorce in Arizona

    Arizona is a no-fault state. Unless you have Covenant Marriage, the only grounds for divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The person filing for divorce will swear to this in their initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If you have a non-covenant marriage, like most people do, you can not get a divorce based on the grounds of adultery, abandonment, abuse or neglect.

  • How Long Doea It Take To Get A Divorce

    In Maricopa County, most uncontested divorce actions can be completed in about 75-90 days.

  • What Does Common-Law Marriage Mean?

    Arizona does not recognize common-law marriages.

  • What Is A Legal Separation

    A Legal Separation in Arizona addresses all of the issues that a divorce addresses, except that the parties are still legally married. This is sometimes referred to as a “financial divorce,” but it is not a divorce. It divides all of the assets and liabilities, addresses child custody, support andparenting time and allows continue to be legally married without being subject to “community property” rules. A legal separation requires that both parties are in agreement.

  • How Does The Divorce Process Start

    One spouse, called the Petitioner, files a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (along with several other documents) with the Clerk of the Court in his or her county of residence. The other spouse, called the Respondent is then served with the Petition and the other documents. If the Respondent does not agree with what the Petitioner is requesting in the Petition, the Respondent must file a Response no later than 20 days (30 days if served out of state) after he or she was served with the documents.

    If the Respondent fails to file a written Response within the time allowed, the Petitioner can apply to the court for a default. The Petitioner must then file an Application for Entry of Default with the court and mail a copy to the Respondent. The Respondent then has another ten days to file a Response.  If the Respondent still does not file a Response within ten days from the date the Application for Entry of Default is filed and mailed, then the Petitioner can proceed with the dissolution hearing.

  • Do We Have To Go To Court?

    If the parties are completely in agreement, in divorce and some other cases, the matter can often be completed without either party ever having to physically set foot in the court house. In many cases, the parties can sign a Consent Decree, which is filed by the attorney with the court. The judge will then review and sign the Consent Decree and then mail the signed copies to each side.

  • When Does Arizona Have Jurisdiction To File My New Case

    To file a new Divorce, at least one of the parties must have been residing in Arizona for at least 90 days. However, generally, the Court does not acquire jurisdiction over the children until they have resided in Arizona for at least 180 days. As a result, except in those cases of emergencies, unless the children have resided in at least 180 days in the state of Arizona prior to filing a petition involving custody and parenting time, the Arizona Court could not have jurisdiction to enter such orders regarding minor children.

  • What Happens If I Am Served With A Petition for Dissolution And I Do Not File A Response

    If a Petition is filed and served on a spouse the spouse has two options: do nothing if the spouse agrees with what is in the Petition or file a Response if the spouse does not agree with what is in the Petition. However be careful! The failure to file a Response will result in a Divorce Decree being entered and the spouse will have no input into that Decree. Often the filing spouse tells the other spouse not to worry that n answer is not required and no Response is file. Suddenly the spouse that did not Respond finds himself or herself without custody and owing child support and/or spousal maintenance.

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