The law protects parents who are on active duty in the military. Sometimes the court postpones or suspends hearings until the service member can take part. This is so that service members can devote their full attention to their duties.
If a parent is absent because of active military duty, the judge may make temporary decisions. This includes parental rights and responsibilities, and child support.
The law also protects reservists and members of the National Guard while they are on active duty.
Hearings Without the Military Service Member Present
The court must appoint an attorney to represent the parent who is a military service member before the judge enters a default judgment. A default judgment is a decision that is made when a party has not responded to a complaint or fails to appear at a final hearing. The court often delays issuing final orders until the service member can get leave to come to court.
If you have a hearing scheduled and you or the other parent is called to duty, let the family division know immediately.
Child Support and Active Duty Service Members
All military personnel have an obligation to support their children. You may contact your commanding officer or the other parent's commanding officer to arrange for voluntary payments even if you do not have a child support order. For more information on service branches, visit the U.S. Department of Defense website.
Income of military personnel for the purposes of child support includes basic pay, basic allowance for quarters, housing allowance, and other allowances.
Military pay may be withheld. Federal law provides a limit of 50% on the amount that is subject to withholding for a person supporting other dependents, such as a spouse or dependent child, and 60% for a person who is not.
Modification of Orders While a Service Member is on Active Duty
Sometimes there isn't much time to get your affairs in order before deployment.
If your deployment, or that of the other parent, affects an existing order, you can file a motion to modify it. You should attach a copy of the military order of deployment, a letter from the commanding officer, and any other supporting information the court would find helpful.
If you are able to reach an agreement about the changes, the court should be able to process them immediately.
- Find information about asking to modify child support or maintenance supplement on the Child Support web page.
- Find information about asking to modify parental rights and responsibilities and parent-child contact on the Parental Rights and Responsibilities and Parent-Child Contact web page.
Also notify the Office of Child Support if you need to change a child support order.
Let the court know about any changes to your contact information, including your address. You may use this form: