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Military service and child support

Many active service members in El Paso are ordered by courts to pay child support. Military branches consider it a service member's duty to support dependents regardless of marital or child custody status. This differs from a civilian's obligation to pay child support because a service member can be more easily punished for failing to make payments.

Members of the military face special challenges when they are deployed overseas on active duty. If possible, it is a good idea to include a child support provision for what should happen if a parent who is a service member is on an overseas deployment and unable to access bank accounts.

A custodial parent can ask a service member's commanding officer for assistance child support before a final order is issued by a court. The Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) allows service members to set up an allotment for child support so that payments are automatically withdrawn from their military pay.

Non-payment of child support can have severe consequences. A commanding officer can impose extra duty rounds and a reduction in rank or pay for military parents who fail to pay. Custodial parents can send a court order regarding child support wage garnishment directly to DFAS to set up payments.

An attorney with experience in military family law could help a client who is facing a military divorce. In addition to affecting a parent's obligation to pay child support, active duty may affect a service member's visitation rights. Many states have enacted laws that prohibit judges from taking a parent's military status into account when making decisions regarding child custody.

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