My Military Spouse Cut Me Off!
Every branch of the U.S. military requires a divorcing servicemember to continue to provide for their family during proceedings. However, it is unfortunately common for those going through a divorce to simply refuse – they may reroute payments, hide assets, or simply openly refuse to provide for a spouse and children. To do this is both reckless and negligent, and it can open up a servicemember to serious penalties.
You Are Still Entitled To Benefits
If your spouse simply cuts off financial support while you still remain married, it is crucial that you know you are still entitled to military benefits for you and your children. Amenities like all or part of a housing allowance, Tricare benefits, your military ID card, and access to the base and its services (including, in some cases, its legal department!) are yours until the divorce is final, and depending on the specifics of your situation, your children may still retain some benefits even after their parents are divorced.
It is not uncommon for the non-military spouse to decide it is better to simply cut their losses and to not seek what they are owed because, after all, access to these amenities is temporary – a divorce will eliminate access to all but a few. However, it is always better to seek what you are owed, particularly if you have children – if you do not, it may create a precedent for your spouse to fall back on for property distribution in your divorce.
While it is true that every branch of the military mandates that a servicemember support their family, the extent to which this will be enforced will vary widely from branch to branch, and even from base to base. In some cases it may be necessary to approach your spouse’s commanding officer to enlist their help in receiving what you are owed. However, if command chooses not to assist, seeking a court order for what you are owed may be your only choice.
One thing to keep in mind is that in some situations, your military spouse may be charged under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice if they refuse to support their family. This is an offense that is tried in a court martial, rather than in a civilian court, and the stakes may be much higher than they would be outside military jurisdiction. If your divorce is amicable so far, know that this may potentially affect relations in the future.
Call A Hollywood, FL Military Divorce Attorney
It is comparatively rare for a military servicemember to abandon their spouse and children, but if this has happened to you, it is important for you to know that you are not without options to get what you deserve. A Hollywood, FL military divorce attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can help answer any questions you may have about proceedings. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.