One of the more frequent things Soldiers have seen me about, was spousal dependent support. Namely, whether or not they are required to pay their estranged spouses any money. More often than not, the answer is a resounding yes. The regulation that covers this issue is AR 608-99; here, I will discuss the salient points of dependent support as outlined in this regulation. If you need information or assistance that is beyond the scope of this article, then you will need to seek legal advice from your servicing Legal Assistance office.
My spouse and I are separated; do I have to pay him/her any money?
Most times the answer to this question is “yes”. There are only a few exceptions: if your spouse currently resides in government quarters, you do not; if your spouse is an active duty military member, you do not; if you have been released by your commander from the requirement to provide financial support, you do not.
How much am I required to pay?
The amount you’re required to provide to your spouse each month depends on your rank. Look at the current pay chart and locate the Basic Allowance for Housing RC/Transient section (page 3 of the linked PDF). The amount for your rank under the With Dependent column is what you are required to pay your spouse every month. I always recommend setting up an allotment for that amount.
My child doesn’t live with my spouse; what do I do?
The amount in the BAH RC/Transient column of the pay chart is the total amount Soldiers are required to provide their dependents. If your dependents reside in different households (e.g. your son lives with your mother, while your spouse lives elsewhere), you simply divide the amount by the number of dependents you have and that gives you the amount each household gets.
Example: you have three children and a spouse (four dependents). Your children live with your mother while your spouse lives in non-government housing. Your spouse receives 1/4 of your BAH RC/T while your mother receives the remaining 3/4.
I didn’t know I had to do this, can I get into trouble with my chain of command?
Yes; paragraph 2-5 is punitive. You cannot fall into arrears without violating this regulation. The upside of this however, is that you cannot be punished for falling into arrears, only for failing to make your required payments. If it’s been brought to your attention that you are in violation of 608-99, either by failing to pay or by not paying the required amount, you will need to immediately begin making the proper payments. Any future violations can result in your receiving an Article 15 for violating a regulation.
How can I get out of having to make these payments?
Reconcile with or divorce your spouse. If for what ever reason you’re unable to do either, then there are a couple of options available to you. Your battalion commander can relieve you of the support payments if you’ve been providing regular payments for 18 months and you’ve been separated from your spouse for at least 18 months. There are some other scenarios in which a battalion commander can relieve a Soldier of payments, but this is the most likely scenario to occur; see paragraph 2-14 for more information.
The brigade commander has broader authority to relieve a Soldier of the payment requirements, but must be satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence that release from support requirements is a matter of fundamental fairness. This means that your particular situation must not fall under paragraph 2-14 and that it is an unfair burden on you (and no, sending money that you want to keep is not unfair).
I’m not receiving BAH, do I still have to make this payment?
Yes. Paragraph 2-7a(5) states: A Soldier’s obligation to pay BAH II-WITH [now known as BAH RC/Transient] will begin on the date that the family members vacate the Government quarters. The obligation to make this support payment begins even if the Soldier has not cleared Government quarters and is not entitled to draw BAH II-WITH.
I will update this page further with additional information at a future date; I just wanted to get the basics posted for now.