Military Divorce Adds Additional Complexity to Alimony Determinations

The various aspects of divorce, such as property division, custody, and child and spousal support, are complex issues in and of themselves. But when one spouse is in the military, the case gets more complex. Military divorce and alimony in Georgia can become more complicated because of the additional military laws that get thrown into the mix.

Like everyone who goes through a divorce in Gwinnett County, military members may be subject to paying alimony. There are specific protocols for garnishment and limits on the maximum allowable amount, though.

Eligibility for Alimony

A spouse may request that the courts order the other spouse to pay alimony or spousal support for a certain period of time. The military discourages lifetime alimony as the support is meant to help only until you have means to provide for your needs. If one spouse put his or her career on hold to raise the children and provided financially for the family while the other advanced through the ranks in service, she might need spousal support before finding adequate work.

Spousal support is far from a clear-cut issue in military divorce. Alimony is highly subjective, often disputable, and at the judge’s discretion. There is no specific formula, in Georgia or in the military, that determines the awarding of alimony. Rather, when determining alimony awards, the courts will review a number of factors, such as:

  • The earning capacity of each party.
  • Their ages, health, education, and work history.
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, such as childcare, home keeping, and career building.
  • The duration of the marriage (The longer the marriage, the higher the probability of an alimony award).
  • The standard of living the couple shared while married.
  • The length of time it will take the spouse requesting alimony to receive job training and secure employment.

Military Divorce Rules for Alimony Payments

If the courts award a recipient alimony, she can request that the military garnish the former spouse’s earnings. She will have to serve alimony garnishments through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Cleveland Garnishment Operations center. “For alimony, you might want to contact an attorney to obtain a garnishment,” the DFAS recommends. If a recipient is due arrearages (back payments), the military will garnish wages for that too, as long as it is within the legal limits.

Another important military divorce rule to be aware of is that the government caps how much of a service member’s earnings can be taken for child support and alimony. The rules and limits are found in The Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. § 1673). The act states that the amount that can be deducted for child support and alimony (combined) cannot exceed 50 to 65 percent of the service member’s wages. The specific cap depends on whether or not the member pays support for other children not included in the order, how much support is already being paid, and whether or not there are any arrearages to be paid.

If the support award exceeds the allowable limits, the recipient will not receive the full amount each month. The military will garnish only the maximum allowable.

Free Legal Consultation about Military Divorce and Alimony in Georgia

If you are going through a divorce in Gwinnett County, call a military divorce attorney at Ward Law Firm for a free consultation to review military divorce and alimony in Georgia, and other factors relevant to your case. We are well versed in all aspects of military divorce law and can help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible. Whether you are requesting alimony or you are the spouse who has to pay it, we can provide you with the counsel you need to protect your best interests.

Call the office today at 770-383-1973 and schedule a meeting or fill out our online contact form.