Is Maintenance Different for Military Families?

military maintenanceThis is, once again, a question that goes back to the spousal maintenance statute in understanding what the guidelines show. Significant in military families is a lot of times a wife whose husband is in the military will go to the husband’s command and say, “I need family leave support. I need support to help me out because my husband has left. He’s gone to another duty station. He’s not supporting the family.”

So it takes some knowledge to know what the entitlements are that military members receive. As an example, a lot of times military members will assign or be ordered by their command to give their spouse the BAH rate, which is on their LES statement, until further orders can be entered.

The way that maintenance works in a military case is that once the military court receives the civilian court’s order as to what the spousal maintenance is as ordered by a judge or what that amount is that the parties agree to, then the military court, once it receives those orders, can stop the BAH allowance going to the spouse.

So here’s an example. Let’s say that the BAH rate that the service member receives is $980, and the parties have filed a case in divorce court. The divorce judge has ruled that spousal maintenance is not $980. It’s $790. Well, once the judge signs that court order, the military will honor the civilian court’s order. The maintenance will be adjusted so that the service member is not paying BAH any longer, but just paying what the amount is that the judge has ordered.

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