Support Stipulations in the MilitaryMilitary service members may have to provide support for their family members during periods of separation. Whether any support is owed and determining the amount owed can be complicated and vary across different military branches. As a result, you will want to talk to an attorney to learn about any support obligations in your case.

Military Regulations and Support

Each branch of the military has regulations in place that provide for necessary support for service member family members. The regulations for each branch are different and there may be exceptions and special circumstances for specific cases.

  • Air Force. The Air Force Instruction provides that service members must provide adequate financial support to their family members. These regulations are somewhat unclear, though. There is not very much guidance on how much is "adequate" and a commanding officer has significant discretion in setting the support amount.

  • Army. Army members are required to provide adequate financial support. In addition, the regulations provide a formula for determining how much support must be given.

  • Coast Guard. Coast Guard regulations require that members support dependents. It can be difficult to enforce this requirement.

  • Marines. The Marine regulations also provide a complicated formula for determining how much family support is owed. But to get the full amount, you may need to work with a lawyer to get a court order.

  • Navy. The Navy formula for determining support owed is relatively straightforward. A lawyer can ensure that the support guidelines are complied with.


As should be evident, the notion of “adequate” can be quite vague and open to interpretation. It is best to work with an attorney who can help you discern how “adequate support” applies in your case.