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Military deployment and child support -- Part I

Service members throughout the country, including those in Tennessee, understand that military life exacts certain prices on family unity that most civilian families never have to pay. When service members are deployed for long periods, their absence from home can put extreme stresses -- both emotional and financial -- on their families still at home. As a result, many service members' marriages break down and divorce becomes almost inevitable. When a service member is a noncustodial parent, that person's connection with a family may be limited to paying regular child support.

Fortunately, in 1975 Title IV-D of the Social Security Act created a federal Office of Child Support Enforcement that works with child-support agencies in all 50 states. OCSE coordinates the activities of state IV-D agencies and thus allows the enforcement of support orders through state agencies.

Any noncustodial parent who has experienced a substantial change in financial circumstances and wishes to have a child support order reviewed after three years can request that the child-support agency that originally enforced the order review it for possible modification.

If a noncustodial service member wishes to establish paternity and get the current child-support order changed, then he can apply through the child support office. In Tennessee, it is best to apply through the local child-support office. There is no requirement for residency for IV-D services. The service member can apply for the service in any state. The child-support agency telephone numbers are in all public telephone directories.

The noncustodial parent can also let the child-support agency with original jurisdiction know that the person's is on deployment and thus unavailable for hearings except by special arrangement with the soldier's command.

Source: ACF.HHS.gov, "A Handbook for Military Families," Accessed on July 22, 2015

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