Military Pay Garnishment Laws

Every branch of the U.S. military has rules pertaining to military separation and divorce, especially concerning child and spousal support. The military’s regulations require that members offer sufficient support to dependents. However, without a court order, the military cannot enforce that a member take care of their financial obligations. Each branch defines adequate child and spousal support slightly differently and enforces the regulations in different ways. If you’re a North Carolina resident and a member of the military, here is some essential information for how payments are distributed in a military divorce.


Military divorce for members of the Army is covered in Army Regulation 608-99, which requires that solders provide an amount of financial support that is equal to the standard housing allowance the military offers service members who have dependents. This rule stands unless a written agreement or court order permits an alternate amount.

Air Force

Air Force Instruction 36-2906 does not dictate a specific dollar amount for spousal and child support in a military divorce. The amount of support that dependents receive varies according to the family’s individual circumstances and is decided by the commander if there is not court order or written agreement.

Navy and Marine Corps

According to the Naval Personnel Manual Section 1754-030, commanders determine the fair amount of financial support if dependents complain that they are not receiving child or spousal support and there is no agreement or court order. If the payments are for the spouse only, the military member must pay 33.3% of their gross pay. If the payments are for a spouse and one child under 18, the dependents are entitled to 50% of the military member’s gross pay. Naval and Marine Corps members who have to support a former spouse and two or more minor children must pay 60% of their gross income.

Pay garnishment is limited for service members who have unpaid child support or spousal support. However, since each branch of the military has different procedures, individuals negotiating a military divorce settlement or seeking support enforcement will need to familiarize themselves with that branch’s policies.

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