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Alimony in a military divorce

A divorce can sometimes be more complicated if one of the spouses is in the military. Many Virginia couples may have questions about alimony and how it works for military families.

Although alimony is usually awarded in many divorces, it may be seen as a requirement when a service member divorces. The American Bar Association says that this is because the armed forces place a heavy emphasis on financially supporting military families. This means that if a state court does not establish alimony payments, the serviceman's branch of the military will usually set them up. If the military establishes these payments, the serviceman's rank usually determines the amount.

Some people may think that because they divorced in one jurisdiction and then were stationed somewhere else, they no longer need to pay alimony. According to FindLaw, military families are subject to two sets of laws when they divorce. Virginia family law usually takes precedence over military law, and this determines the rights of each spouse, including alimony. Because of this, an alimony arrangement can be enforced regardless of where a service member is stationed.

Military law also affects alimony payments. Servicemen may sometimes have an arrearage when they are stationed somewhere for more than two months. When this is the situation, a service member's wages may sometimes be garnished so that the alimony payments can still be made. If members of the armed forces stop paying alimony without this garnishment in place, they may be written up for misconduct. This is because supporting an ex-spouse and children is considered an obligation, and failing to pay may sometimes result in administrative discharge proceedings.



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