By Capt. Alana R. Hines, Fort Jackson Legal OfficeJanuary 19, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C.-- Because of new basic housing allowance rates for 2012 that recently took effect, service members providing interim family support pursuant should adjust their allotments accordingly.
Those receiving interim family support may also want to make sure they are receiving the proper amount.
Army Regulation 608-99 creates an interim support requirement that applies only when the parties do not have a court order or an agreement concerning support. If there is a court order and a parent fails to pay child support in accordance with a court order, many civilian legal consequences can follow, including arrearage payments or a garnishment of wages.
Absent a court order, if a verbal agreement exists and is being followed, the Army will not interfere. The Army will not step in and tell the Soldier that he or she must pay interim support. If the parties are not in agreement, then AR 608-99 interim support guidelines apply.
If a signed written agreement exists, the amount specified in the agreement controls. If no verbal or written agreement exists, AR 608-99 applies. The purpose of interim support is to provide some family support while the parties seek an agreement or a court settlement.
The interim amount is not intended to provide adequate support in all cases, and if a family member thinks the interim amount is not enough, he or she must obtain a court order or enter an agreement to change the Soldier's support obligation.
There are certain limited circumstances in which a Soldier can be released from support requirements, but this can only be done by a battalion commander or higher. The Staff Judge Advocate must be consulted before releasing a Soldier.
The specific situations in which a battalion commander can release a Soldier are outlined in AR 608-99, Chapter 2-14. A special court martial convening authority, typically a brigade commander, may release a Soldier from providing spousal support, or reduce the amount of spousal support, if he or she is satisfied by a preponderance of evidence that the Soldier should be released as a matter of fundamental fairness, and must obtain a written legal opinion before releasing the soldier (Chapter 2-15).
If the dependents are residing in government housing, they do not qualify under AR 608-99. Further, if spouses are dual military, they do not qualify, but if they have children, then the children will still qualify.
The amount of family support owed under AR 608-99 is determined based on the Soldier's rank and the type of family situation. The BAH II (RC/T), also known as the BAH non-locality rate, is used as a yardstick to determine the amount of interim family support.
However, even if a Soldier does not receive basic allowance for housing, he or she is still obligated to pay interim family support.
If a Soldier has family members residing in different locations, a pro rata share of BAH II (RC/T) -- married (non-locality with dependents) is owed to those not in government quarters.
The interim support obligation begins on the date that the parties cease living together. For example, if one of the spouses moved out Dec. 6, the first family support payment would be due Jan. 1, pro-rated for the number of days in December that the two were not living together.
If a dependent wishes to seek enforcement of AR 608-99, then he or she can begin by contacting the Soldier's commander. The dependant can also contact the local Inspector General office. If there are any further questions or concerns the dependent can always contact the Legal Assistance Office.
Service members with questions regarding their possible obligations under AR 608-99 are encouraged to speak with their commanders, and can also schedule an appointment with a legal assistance attorney.
The Fort Jackson Legal Office provides legal services -- including powers of attorney, living wills and health care powers of attorney -- to service members, retirees and eligible family members.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney, call 751-4287. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The office is closed on federal and training holidays. The office is located at 2600 Lee Road.