Spousal Support

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.


14 responses to “Spousal Support

  1. Me and my wife are seperated and waiting for divorce. JAG told me that if my rent, utilities and child support for a child not with my wife is more then the set amount to pay my wife then I didn’t have to pay her anything is that true?

    • Brown,

      I will not contradict what your local JAG office told you without more information about your situation. I’m assuming that you sat down with an attorney (an officer) who provided you with this information.

      If the person who advised you was an attorney, then I recommend that you follow his/her advice. If this person was enlisted, then I HIGHLY recommend you go back and talk to a JAG attorney.

      Without more information, I am at a loss to tell you what you are or are not required to provide in order to comply with AR 608-99, and must defer to the advice you’ve already been provided.

  2. So i want to get a divorce, i am currently gettin bah. i get 850 a month.
    Am i obligated to give her all of the bah i receive? or half? without getting in trouble.
    she is not in government quarters, she is in cali.
    im in texas receiveing texas bah…
    i just wanted to do right thing. and make sure she doesnt contact my chain of comd,
    stating that im not supporting financially, what am i obligated to give her.

    spc. JOE”

  3. Hello,
    My husband and I are getting a divorce, with the first court date coming up. He is currently over seas, and I just moved back to the states, via EROD, which i requested. If I recall, JAG there told me that the day I set foot in my state of residency, the spousal support begins, however, he has not payed me a dime. Do I receive it regardless of my living conditions, or do I have to have a lease of some sort? I had BAH before I moved overseas for my rent, but isn’t it a bit different than spousal support for divorce? JAG made it seem as though he is still required to support me, and I am very confused about this. thank you!

    • Ma’am,

      First, I must assume that you are not active duty military yourself since you were EROD’d from overseas; second, I’m also going to assume that you are not living in government quarters; I will also assume that there is no written agreement regarding support between the two of you, nor any court orders pertaining to that. Also, for the sake of argument, I will say that he’s a Specialist since you didn’t mention his rank.

      Based on the assumptions above, your husband is required by AR 608-99, paragraph 2-6, to provide you with $694.80 per month until the divorce is final. This figure is his BAH-II With Dependents rate; it’s a fixed rate and applies irrespective of zip code. You state that he hasn’t provided any of this support, so I have to give you the bad news: he is neither required to pay for the months he’s missed, nor can he be ordered to do so; however, by not providing support to you as required by the regulation, he is subject to UCMJ action against him.

      I must caveat this though. If he has other dependents that he’s required to support, you are only entitled to a pro rata share of his BAH-II With Dependents. For example, if he also has a child who is living with his parents, his parents will receive half of the $694.80 and you get the other half. If you are his only dependent, then you’re entitled to the full amount.

      I recommend that you go speak to the nearest Legal Assistance office if one is within driving distance to you so that you can obtain advice on how to proceed. I can only tell you what the regulation says – I can’t advise you since I’m not an attorney.

      Here are some of the rates:

      E-1: $615.90
      E-2: $615.90
      E-3: $646.20
      E-4: $694.20
      E-5: $799.20
      E-6: $888.60
      E-7: $961.80

  4. Thank you,
    And yes, he is a specialist, no I am not in the service. So you are saying that even though I have no lease of any sort, I am still entitled to payment? That is really great to hear, however, I tried contacting the closest JAG here, and they told me that since I have my own lawyer, they can not help me as far as contacting his NCO’s to get anything done! So I am still stuck!

    • Please understand that I am limited to what I can say to
      you because I have to be very careful not to give anyone legal
      advice or anything that can be construed as such, since I’m not an
      attorney. The legal assistance office you contacted is correct:
      because you have an attorney already, they cannot take on an
      attorney-client relationship with you. Your best bet to get a
      resolution to this situation is: a) attempt to reason with your
      husband and inform him that he is required by regulation to provide
      you with support; b) contact his chain of command and inform them
      of what’s going on; or, c) file a complaint with the closest IG
      office if you are getting nowhere with a or b. That said, it’d
      probably be in both of your best interests to get the divorce
      finalized as quickly as possible (assuming there’s no possibility
      of reconciling) so that the two of you can move on with both of
      your lives. That’s not legal advice — it’s just good old-fashioned
      advice gained from life.

  5. My question: How can my brother, who’s on Active Duty, marry an illegal immigrant residing in the states? Need to know the procedures, if at all possible to legalize their marriage.

  6. Im not a military service member and my husband is an E-3 I am doing an ERD to return back to the states and Im wondering if you have any idea if the rate of BAH they give him depends on what state Im in. Also if you know how long it should take finance to change the BAH allowance and for him to start paying me. One more thing is he obligated to help me with deposits and such on a place to live when I get to the states?

    • Jasmine,

      According to AR 608-99, he is only required to provide you with the BAH-II With Dependents rate for his pay grade; this will likely be less than the BAH he receives. Finance will not change the BAH rate just so he can “start paying;” per regulation, he is required to begin payments as soon as you vacate government quarters. His best bet is to set up an allotment directly to your bank account, which he can do through MyPay. And no, he’s not obligated to do anything beyond what AR 608-99 specifies unless there is a court order or financial agreement in place

  7. Thanks for the info. My son-in-law is down range. They moved her close to family before he left for the year and they were already having problems but he moved all of his goods with her and they are in the house they rented. things have deteriorated and she filed for divorce last week. He was giving her the $850 BAH and she was paying all of the other household bills since most of his pay goes to a child from a previous relationship. When she file for divorce a protection order was filed saying he had to continue to support the household at the current rate until the divorce is final. He is siting the article above saying he only has to pay her half of the BAH II With Dep since his child lives separate. Does the order of protection supercede this document? It seems to say that it does at the begining. Also, his belongings are still in the house–in essence–he is still living there while overseas., Does this make a difference?

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