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Non-Support of Family Members

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The Army strongly enforces Soldiers’ support of Family Members; a soldier is required to provide financial support to geographically separated family members. Commanders become involved when the parties are unable to agree on a proper method to provide financial support to the family members. This obligation does not arise until a family member or an authorized representative of the family member complains to the command that the Soldier is failing to provide proper support.

Family Member financial support is enforced in accordance with:

Court Order:

Soldiers will comply with the financial support provisions of all court orders. Failure of a Soldier to comply with a financial support or related provision of a court order may also be the basis for a lawful order from a commander to comply with such provision.

Agreement

  • Oral financial support agreement:  It is not the Army’s policy to become involved in disputes over the terms or enforcement of oral financial support agreements. Where an oral agreement exists and is being followed, the Army will not interfere.

  • Written financial support agreement:  If a signed written financial support agreement exists, the amount of financial support specified in such an agreement controls. A written financial support agreement is any written document (such as a separation agreement or property settlement agreement, a letter, or a series of letters) signed and evidencing an agreement to provide financial support. Commanders apply the terms of agreements as written and avoid making interpretations that depart from the clear meaning of the agreement. Commanders may rely on other existing documents to determine the specific financial support obligation; that is, if the agreement requires the soldier to “pay the rent,” the commander may consult the lease agreement to determine the amount of the support obligation.

 
Army Regulation 608-99 paragraph 2-6.

This Army Regulation applies in the absence of a financial support agreement or a court order containing a financial support provision and until such an agreement is signed or such an order is issued. Allegations or even proof of desertion, adultery, or other marital misconduct, or criminal acts on the part of a spouse will not excuse a soldier’s obligation to comply with the provisions of this regulation unless a Special Courts Martial Authority releases the soldier under the provisions of this regulation.

Non Support of Family Members – Commander’s TIPS

  1. A Soldier’s obligation to pay “BAH II With” to the Family Members will begin on the date the Family Members vacate the common residence.  The obligation to make this support payment begins even if the Soldier has not cleared Government quarters and is not entitled to draw “BAH II With.”
  2. Soldiers must pay BAH-II (flat rate based on rank) if receiving BAH and no court order exists.  “BAH goes to the Family or back to the Government.”
  3. You cannot order the method of payment (money order, check, allotment, etc.) but it’s a good idea to strongly suggest an allotment.
  4. When Family Members live in government quarters the Soldier is not required to provide additional financial support.
  5. Ensure immediate needs are met & take appropriate action.
  6. You cannot order Soldier to pay arrearages but it’s the morally right thing to do – Spouse must go through US Courts to get back support. Recoup….
  7. You can take action against Soldiers who refuse to pay support (up to and including Courts Martial).
  8. Support in kind is limited i.e.  Automobile loans, insurance, charge accounts, made to others on behalf of supported Family Members requires the written approval of the supported Family Members in order to be credited.  MAKE SURE THAT YOU CALL YOUR ATTORNEY.
  9. It is legal for a Soldier to keep the difference between his BAH (rate based on where you live) and what he is obligated to pay his/her dependents (BAH II). Example: If a Sergeant E5’s  Family is in Long Island, NY where the BAH rate is $1800/month and the Soldier is only required to pay minimum required IAW 2012 Non-Locality BAH rate of $812.10/month, the Soldier can legally pocket $997.90/month without a court order.
  10. New BAH rates are published yearly effective on 1 January.
  11. Most States have reciprocal support agreements with Germany.  German wives/husband's can get their money through our State governments.  Check with your JAG. The Soldier must be properly served through SJA.
  12. If the Soldier is drawing BAH but cannot locate his/her spouse, advise them to put the BAH in a bank account - BAH goes to the Family or back to the government.
  13. In the case of paternity issues where no marriage exists, the onus is on the complainant to prove paternity, and has to be done through the court system. Inform SM, he may continue to pay or stop at any time w/o court order.
  14. Find out the truth to the allegation of non-support (interview the Soldier, check the DEERS database, check for court judgment concerning paternity).
  15. Find out if a court order or separation agreement exists.  
  16. Find out if the Soldier is receiving BAH.  Determine total # of dependents.
  17. Get with JAG to validate amount owed (especially with complicated dependent issues).
  18. Order the Soldier to pay the appropriate amount.
  19. Follow up with Family Member to make sure the money was received.