Military father with childThis is the next post in my series discussing issues which frequently arise for military families during a Virginia divorce. My last post explained how our state proceeds in a child custody matter when one parent is or is about to be deployed. In this post I will explain how the calculation of child support payments can be affected by one’s military service.

Child support payments will be based on both Virginia military members’ taxable and nontaxable income

Military service generally has little impact on calculating child support. The Commonwealth of Virginia believes that both parents should contribute to the financial responsibility of the child and that a child should have access to the same financial resources that they would if two parents lived in the same household. When determining child support a standard formula is used which takes into account each parent’s gross income, the financial percentage that each parent is responsible for, the cost of health and dental care for the child, which parent is the custodial parent, etc. When calculating the funds available for child support payments, very little money is seen as “ineligible.” If one parent already pays support for another child then such payments may be be subtracted from the eligible total for the instant child. Prior orders of spousal support to a separate adult can also be subtracted from child support calculations as can any money a new spouse earns independently.

However, many military members do not realize that nontaxable income will be considered fair game for child support payments. This can include anything from disability payments from the VA, hazardous pay, and pensions. It also includes housing allowances and food allowances commonly provided by the military. This nontaxable income that is often part of a military member’s compensation can lead to one under anticipating the amount of child support the Courts will order one to pay.

Commanding Officers can inflict additional punishments on Virginia military members who get behind on child support payments

State law requires all parents who are ordered to pay child support to do so on time. The state has the power to impose punishments on “deadbeat” parents who get behind on payments through contempt of court findings, the adding of additional financial penalties, suspending professional licenses, or even by issuing a warrant for one’s arrest. However, the United States military holds its members to a higher standard than regular civilians and expects each member to act honorably by taking care of their children. If a Commanding Officer is informed that one has neglected their legal financial duties then military member may be punished internally if the problem is not immediately remedied. For this reason, if one is not able to afford their child support payments, it is important to contact an attorney to help address the situation immediately, to avoid negative career and legal consequences.

If you are a military member and are concerned about child support payments then it is important to contact an attorney who can help you accurately estimate what you will be ordered to pay. Our office is able to assist military members in receiving a fair and reasonable child support order. Call us today to schedule a consultation. In addition to Virginia Beach, we also service Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York, and James City.