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Military parents can seek child support changes when pay rates go down

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2016 | Child Support |

Getting a divorce while in the military can have a profound effect on our brave service members. Whether in harm’s way 7,000 miles from home or stationed here in Texas, handling the financial responsibilities of a family court order is not easy. The military asks a great deal of soldiers and the pay may not seem enough at times.

As you rotate stateside or complete your service, there could be significant changes to your earnings, and it may be in your best interest to have an attorney petition the court for a support modification.

Is your military pay enough to afford your child support obligations?

The average yearly salary of an Army Private runs about $19,000 to $24,000 depending on class and experience. That comes to about $365 to $461 per week. The military also provides incentives ranging from $150 to $225 per month for those who undertake hazardous duties, such as:

  • Parachute jumping
  • Handling toxic chemicals and fuel
  • Flight deck duty

Soldiers can also receive $225 per month from imminent danger or hostile fire duty for serving in dangerous foreign lands. It’s not a lot given the risks. However, it adds up and can be factored into your child support order. When you rotate stateside, those stipends drop off. Given your new income rate, you may need to have a support order modified to stay afloat.

Do you need a modification after transitioning home?

Soldiers face a tough civilian economy and may need to transition by collecting unemployment for a while. Ex-military may be eligible under the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members if they meet the following criteria:

  • Completed service and honorably discharged
  • Qualified for an early separation exception
  • Met time commitments as a reservist or National Guard member

Unemployment will only add up to a portion of what you earned in the military, and Texas can deduct up to 50 percent of the benefits to pay your child support order. This significant loss of earnings may be a good reason to ask the court for a modification until you land a steady job.

If you are a member of the Armed Forces who has returned to a Texas base or have already completed your service, a family court order may still be based upon your peak earnings. The last thing you need is to fall behind on an obsolete child support order. Getting a modification that reflects your current earnings can help remove unnecessary stress and keep you in good standing.

Work with a Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney who has experience modifying family court orders and helping military personnel. Call GUNNSTAKS LAW OFFICE for help.