“How much alimony does a military spouse get” can be a tough question to answer, because:
- Each branch of the military has its own guidelines and regulations
- Those guidelines are often not very clear, and they aren’t absolute
- Additionally, any court order or legal agreement overrides the service’s guidelines
These guidelines are also designed to address temporary needs, not put permanent requirements into place. They are meant to give some support and structure to the service member and their family, while they pursue more permanent arrangements. The military’s guidelines and regulations are not to be used in the place of civil judgments.
Each branch does, however, give guidelines:
The Air Force’s guidelines state that commanders are to advise those in their command “that they are expected to provide adequate financial support to family members” along with guidance to the family on how the family member(s) can get their former spouse’s wages garnished to ensure adequate support, if they do not do so on their own.
With these highly generalized guidelines that contain no ensured enforcement, there is virtually no incentive for military personnel to provide adequate support to their families. It is basically left to their own subjective conclusions, and the only way that the member’s idea of “adequate support” can be challenged is by demanding wage garnishments.
Unfortunately, the Army’s regulations on family support are also a bit verbose and not especially direct. But they do provide a formula for calculating their suggested amount of support, and that can be found here. It is still a bit confusing, however, so they also provide this fact sheet so that soldiers can make sure that support is divided equitably.
The rules and regulations of the Coast Guard in relation to alimony and family support were previously quite useful and readily available, but they seem to have disappeared from cyberspace. Commandant Notice 1000, Chapter 8.M, Support of Dependents, states quite clearly the regulations for domestic support. This document, however, seems to have disappeared.
In a refreshing change of events, the Marine Corps spells out its alimony and support expectations clearly in the Marine Corps Legal Support and Administration Manual, Chapter 9, Dependent Support & Paternity. Furthermore, it also states that it does not replace, override, or supersede any civilian court-ordered support. Going back to the beginning, most branches are careful to state that their rulings, regulations, etc., do not replace those of a civilian court in these matters; they exist only as guidelines.
The Navy outlines its expectations quite clearly in the MILPERSMAN Section 1754-030, Support of Family Members. It involves a very simple formula that can be used to calculate support by the Navy’s standards. Like the other branches, however, this does not override any decisions passed down by the courts.
The Navy’s determination for support is outlined in equally simple terms:
- Spouse only, 1/3 gross pay
- Spouse and one child, 1/2 gross pay
- Spouse and two or more children, 3/5 gross pay
- One minor child only, 1/6 gross pay
- Two minor children only, 1/4 gross pay
- Three minor children only, 1/3 gross pay
Retirement Pay and Medical Benefits
If you have been married to your spouse for at least 10 years in alignment with their service years, then one of your entitlements is direct retirement pay.
If you were married to your spouse for a minimum of 20 years, they serve a minimum of 20 years, and your marriage overlapped the service time by 20 years, then you are entitled to TRICARE as well as the marital share of the pension. These benefits have specific rules and you should check with a qualified attorney to determine how the rules may affect you.
Contact QDRO Masters: Get Started Today
Finding a reputable divorce attorney is vital to the resolution of your divorce. QDRO Masters, a division of the Willick Law Group, is Las Vegas’ premier legal team focusing on the appropriate case resolution for military spouses.
Our office specializes in understanding the legal frameworks provided by each branch of the United States military. Contact QDRO Masters today to get started.