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Child Support Rules for Military Families

Child Support Rules for Military Families

Divorces can be complex proceedings, especially if you and your former spouse have children. You may need to enter the courtroom and determine where your children are going to live, how often you can visit them, and how much child support you may have to pay. If you are a military member and you need to pay child support following your divorce, there are special rules that your custody agreement may be subject to.

Child Support Guidelines for Indiana

When creating a child support arrangement, you have two pathways available to you: you can attempt to come to an arrangement with your former spouse through negotiations, or you can have a judge determine the agreement in the courtroom. Many cases begin in negotiations and proceed to court when the couple cannot reach a conclusion.

While military members are subject to special rules regarding child support, different states have different conditions for creating these arrangements. If you are a military member seeking a divorce in Indiana, you will need to familiarize yourself with the state’s child support guidelines.

In Indiana, the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent a certain amount of money to help raise their children until he or she reaches adulthood. Child support can cover food, clothing, shelter, educational and medical expenses, extracurricular activities, and more. Indiana considers the following factors when determining how much money you will need to pay each month.

  • You and your former spouse’s financial situations
  • Your children’s previous standard of living
  • The physical, educational, and mental needs of each of your children

During the negotiation period for your child support discussions, you and your former spouse can use Indiana’s guidelines for determining child support, or you can use the rules for your specific branch. Contact an Indianapolis divorce lawyer to help you determine which rules you may be subject to.

Guidelines for Determining Child Support for Military Parents

If you and your former spouse are unable to come to an arrangement in negotiations, you can refer to the military’s guidelines to establish an interim support order before heading to the courtroom. Each branch has different rules regarding child support before the state issues an order, and the amount is typically lower than what the state will require.

When you enter the courtroom, the court will use special rules to calculate your income as a military member. Since military paychecks differ from civilian pay, it can be very difficult to determine how much you truly make and how much support you can realistically provide to your children. As a result, it may take longer to reach an agreement in a military child support case than a civilian one.

The court will examine your base salary and any additional payments you receive for housing, hazardous assignments, and other expenses. The court will also examine the non-monetary compensation you receive from the military, such as food and on-base housing, and how it affects your financial situation. The court may also see if your children receive any benefits or allowances from the military, which could also have an impact on your available income. The court will include allowances and non-monetary compensation as part of your income for child support purposes.

Because of how military earnings appear on tax returns, the court will likely not look at your tax returns when creating a child support arrangement. Instead, it will look at your Leave and Earnings Statements that paint a clearer picture of your income.

If you are a member of the military and you are seeking a divorce, determining how much child support you need to pay is a very complex process. To ensure that you advocate for your best interests at the negotiating table and in the courtroom, retain the services of an Indiana divorce attorney as soon as possible. Your Indianapolis child support attorney will take the time to listen to your story, understand your needs, and advocate for a more preferable arrangement on your behalf.