How Does Spousal Support Work For Military Personnel?

Posted by: Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Orange County divorce mediation: California Divorce MediatorsMilitary personnel have special rules during divorce as compared to civilians. One of the rules decide how the pension gets divided for military members. The division depends on many factors. One of them is the state laws which may not be same for everyone. Next is in which division the member belongs to. Rules can differ for the Army, the Air Force, the Marines and the Navy.

Property as spousal support

During spousal support, marital property becomes an important consideration. In certain cases, a property can be identified as a form of spousal support. In every case the division of property may not be equal but it needs to be fair and equitable. Only property that was purchased or possessed during marriage can be subjected to division.

Privacy Act of 1947

Military law states that military members must provide adequate support to family members. However, the military cannot force a member to pay spousal support against that persons will. In cases where military members fail to provide for their families, they are punished under the Privacy Act of 1974. The act is exclusively for military personnel and dictates the laws and punishments for military members.

Military members who receive the punishment are not allowed to discuss it with anyone. The punishment is as far as the military can go for spousal support defaulters.

Spousal support differs from service to service

Spousal support differs from personnel to personnel and from service to service. It is different for those in the army, the navy and the air force. Army Regulation 608-99 states that every soldier must provide a certain amount to their families. For soldiers who have more than one obligation must divide the money equally among the parties.

The Air Force Instruction 36-2906 for air force members does not specify an amount that members should pay as part of spousal support. Adequate support provided by air force personnel is determined by what situation they are in and how much support they can provide. The Navy too has certain guidelines for their personnel regarding spousal support. The guidelines are mentioned in section 1754-030 of the Naval Personnel Manual. It states a certain amount that must be paid by personnel to their families. However, the navy is reluctant to deal with defaulters and hand the cases over to a court of law.


Spousal support laws for military personnel are different from civilian spousal support laws and depends on the kind of service they are in.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation