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How can a former military spouse apply for support payments?

There are many military families living in and around Clarksville, Tennessee, who understand that there are certain differences between military and civilian marriages. Like marriages, military divorces are somewhat different too. In fact, a number of issues related to a military divorce are often slightly different from the issues facing civilians ending their marriage. One such issue is obtaining child support or alimony from a former spouse who is either serving in the United States military or retired from it.

In order to apply for child support or alimony after a military divorce, the first step the former military spouse must take is obtaining a child support order from a court or a child support enforcement agency and sending it to the Defense Finance and Accounting Services. The details can be sent by mail or by fax. However, for sending documents by fax, certain points need to be kept in mind.

The order must direct the government to pay the former spouse for child support. If required, an attorney or the local child support enforcement agency can provide the former military spouse with an Income Deduction Order or Income Withholding Order. For alimony, however, a garnishment order obtained with the help of an attorney can help.

The withholding order that the former military spouse sends must clearly direct the government, who is the employer in this case, to withhold support obligations from the service member's income and remit the payment to the recipients. The order may not have the specifics of the service member's department or office, but the order must contain that person's full legal name and social security number.

Another important fact that may interest many spouses who have recently finalized their military divorce is that recent amendments to federal laws resulted in the inclusion of court fees, administrative costs and attorney fees in the definition of child support. Therefore those amounts can also be collected if the withholding order clearly instructs the government to do so. Another important point is that the DFAS does not charge a fee for honoring a withholding order for child support or alimony.

Source: DFAS.mil, "How to start child support or alimony payments," Accessed on Oct. 31, 2014

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