Parents in Mississippi have a duty to make any child support payments that a family law court may require. But, what if the parent is a military service member? What obligations do they have to pay child support under military family law? Can their commanding officer order them to pay child support?
Military regulations require service members to provide support for family members. Furthermore, regulations establish interim support guidelines that describe how much of a service member's paycheck should be used to support their families. In the absence of a valid child support order, these guidelines may describe how much a service member must pay to support their family until a child support order is granted.
The duty to pay support is enforced by the service member's unit commander. Although the commander will not simply withhold part of a paycheck and send it to a custodial parent in the absence of a garnishment order, the unit commander can discipline a service member who does not comply with the requirement to support their family. The Department of Defense will honor a valid garnishment order as well.
Although military guidelines can help to establish preliminary requirements, a permanent child support order will be determined according to state law. Mississippi, like most states, has child support guidelines that a valid child support order will be based on. Once the child support obligation is set, the service member will need to comply with it. The service member has the option to present evidence to lower their child support obligation if the circumstances have changed.