Family support rules for military families

Family support rules for military families

The most common way to establish child or spousal support in a family case involving a servicemember is to obtain a court order. Support orders are usually made in divorce or paternity cases. Wisconsin will grant orders for child support or spousal support (known as spousal maintenance). However, even if a state court order does not exist, the military will require a servicemember to pay support for his/her family. Each branch has different rules and calculations:

  1. Air Force: Total number of supported family members (children) x the member’s Base Allowance for Housing.
  2. Marines: The greater of a minimum monthly support (between $152 – $350) or a fractional share of the BAH (both based on the number of family members).
  3. Navy: a percentage of gross pay (base pay + BAH) varying from 1/3 (spousal support only) to 3/5 (spouse + 4 children).
  4. Coast Guard: the Guard does not have the legal ability to force a servicemember to pay support, although such obligations are considered binding and a member’s failure to do so can be grounds for separation or discipline.
  5. Army/National Guard/Reserve: largely same as the Air Force calculation.

There are many exceptions to the above, and many different types of military pay, bonuses, etc. that play a role in the calculations. It is usually most effective to obtain a state court order establishing support. However, servicemembers and their spouses should discuss the various options with their family lawyers to ensure the fairest and most effective support arrangement.

Attorney David Kowalski routinely handles military divorces for both servicemembers and their spouses, and can assist with these agreements. Contact him at 608-709-5000 with any questions.

Published by David Kowalski

Attorney David Kowalski is the founding owner of Kowalski, Wilson & Vang, LLC, handling all family law cases from divorce, paternity, child custody, termination of parental rights, restraining orders, and guardianships.

Recent Posts



We Can Help,
Let's Talk


    725 Heartland Trail #100 Madison, WI 53717

    Hours: 8:30am – 5pm

    123 2nd St Baraboo, WI 53913

    By Appointment

    © Copyright 2024 Kowalski Wilson & Vang, LLC - All Rights Reserved