Yes. The military takes spousal support very seriously. Family support is something that the military members are required to do. You get a certain amount of money in your paycheck that is kind of earmarked for the family and the officer. Your commanding officer can help you understand what that amount is. If not the commanding officer, you can usually go to the legal department on the base and they will tell you the percentage.
Different branches in military lay out different percentages that they think are necessary for the support. But generally speaking, if you are paying for the person’s housing, utilities, phone, giving them money for food, you’re probably going to be okay, but you want to make sure that you check with your commanding officer because you can get in big trouble if you just cut someone off completely. That’s another thing where you could be court-martialed or you could be brought before the board if you are not supporting your wife and child even through a divorce. But the other thing you need to remember is the amount of support that the military will require you to pay will probably not be the same as what you’ll be required to pay in the divorce; it’s probably going to be higher, so don’t feel like that’s going to be forever. That’s something that the court will eventually decide, what exactly the amount would be, but you do need to make sure that you do provide the support while you’re in the pending action.
Ginger L. Dugan, a family lawyer at All Family Law Group in Tampa, Florida, has 10 years of experience in family law and handling complex cases.