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SupportGuidelines.com

A GUIDE TO CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AND MILITARY PERSONNEL

Major Michael Boehman
Judge Advocate General School, United States Army

I. Finding the Soldier

A. Locating members of the Armed Forces can be difficult, and even more so without their social security number. Always try to get a social security number whenever you have any contact with military obligors and all putative fathers (they may join the military after you talk to them).

B. The simplest location method involves the nearest resource. The local recruiter may be able to provide the member’s duty station if (s)he enlisted locally within a year or so. The recruiter’s cooperation may be encouraged as a matter of good public relations.

C. Nearly every installation has a central locator office for assigned personnel. Once you discover the duty station, use this service by calling the installation locator (the number is available through the installation’s information operator), giving member’s name and social security number. You will get his/her military unit address. This allows you to correspond with the member (including using registered or certified mail and return receipt service) and the commander.

D. Another resource is the legal assistance attorneys. They are authorized to assist spouses and legitimate children (and in some cases even children born out of wedlock) obtain a member’s unit address. Any authorized client may consult with any legal assistance attorney (e.g., an Army spouse can receive help from a Navy attorney). Most large bases have legal assistance offices.

E. Members usually leave a copy of reassignment orders at the old unit when they depart; whenever you have occasion to write a commander, always ask to be advised of the member’s next duty station if he has been reassigned.

F. If all else fails, use the Worldwide Military Locator services: see addresses and sample inquiry at Appendix A.

  • Information available: member’s military address. Contact the U.S. Post Office or the postal officer at the nearest military installation for assistance in determining geographic locations of APO or FPO addresses.
  • You need to provide member’s name and social security number.
  • Records may run 60-90 days behind reassignments, most of which occur in the summer. Avoid using during May through October if possible.

G. Special Problem: Home Addresses.

  • Difficulty—the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a.
  • Access to this information may be possible via the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.
  • Request the information from the installation personnel officer where the member is assigned; see the sample letter at Appendix B.
  • Federal Parent Locator Service may also be a source for this information. The DoD Locator Service is operational. It is accessed through the Federal Parent Locator Service and provides home addresses for most service members. (Unit addresses will be released for certain categories of service members, i.e., those stationed overseas). This locator service is DoD-wide; therefore, knowing the particular service is not necessary.

II. Serving and Obtaining Evidence From the Soldier

  • Basis for jurisdiction over members: domicile or state long-arm statutes, just as for civilians. Under general principles of law, members usually retain the domicile they held when they enlisted. You can proceed against a member of the Armed Forces in the same way you would against any other person located outside your state, and long-arm jurisdiction usually is best.
  • Service of process on U.S. military installations and on ships in U.S. waters.
    • Cites: Army, 32 C.F.R. Part 516.1(e); Navy and Marine Corps, 32 C.F.R. Part 720.20.
    • The easiest method is service by mail, if state law permits.
    • Military authorities have no responsibility for serving process (and may violate federal law if they do), but upon request they usually give the member the opportunity to voluntarily accept service. Send documents to the unit commander and request that they be served on the member. The member usually will be given the chance to talk to a legal assistance attorney before deciding whether to accept the documents.
    • Practice Tip: legal assistance attorneys may be unfamiliar with your local law. In letters to the commander or the member, mention the adverse effects that can result from delays (e.g., the possibility of a retroactive support order and the resulting arrearage when a support order finally is issued). This may reduce the use of dilatory tactics.
    • Mandatory personal service can sometimes be achieved by the appropriate state official (e.g., the sheriff) serving the area where the member is stationed. Military officials will make the member available for service of process. This procedure may not work, however, when the documents are issued by a court outside the county or state where the installation is located.
  • Service of Process in Overseas Locations.
    • Serve by U.S. mail if state law permits (APO and FPO are U.S. mail).
    • Practice Tip: military postal clerks sometimes neglect to send the return receipt back to you. If you do not receive a response in a reasonable time, try this: prepare a second set of documents and place them in an envelope addressed to the member, with the return receipt affixed and postage paid; place this envelope inside a larger envelope and address the outside envelope to the military postal officer for the APO where the member is located (e.g., Officer-in-Charge, Military Post Office, APO AE 09444); include a note explaining your unsuccessful effort to get a return receipt and ask that proper postal procedures be followed to deliver the enclosed letter and to send you the receipt.
    • Use The Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents, TIAS 6638, 20 UST 361, 15 Nov 65.
      • Text is in Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, Vol VIII, and the appendix to Fed. Rule of Civil Procedure 4 in West’s U.S. Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.).
      • Procedure to serve people located in signatory nations: plaintiff’s attorney fills out a request on Form USM 94, Request For Service Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents, available from the nearest U.S. Marshall’s Office, and mails it with documents to the foreign nation’s "Central Authority" (except for Israel and Great Britain. For these countries, the court clerk must mail the documents).
        • Addresses and other information are available in U.S.C.A. and from the Department of Justice Office of Foreign Litigation in Washington, D.C. at (202) 514-7455.
        • For some countries, the documents will have to be translated—see the appendix in U.S.C.A. for further information; perhaps the nearest high school or state college or university can provide foreign language assistance. Alternatively, contact the embassy or nearest consulate for the country in question.
    • For problems and information on nonsignatory nations, consult the Office of Citizens’ Consular Services, (202) 647-3444.
    • Alternative: transfer the case to a foreign "URESA" office; in Germany:
      • Use the German federal attorney’s office if your state has an agreement with Germany:
        • As of February 1998, states with such agreements include: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado (child support only), Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (child support only), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia (child support only), Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
        • Generalbundesanwalschaft dei dem Bundesgerichtshof - Zentrale Behorde, Neuenburger Str. 15, 10969 Berlin Telephone: 011-49-30-25-96-1 FAX: 011-49-30-25-96-397
      • If there is no such agreement, contact: Deutsches Institut fur Vormundschaftswesen Postfach 10 20 20, 69010 Heidelberg Telephone: 011-49-6221-98-18-25 FAX: 011-49-6221-98-18-28
    • For personnel aboard ships outside U.S. waters: serve by mail (FPO); or request voluntary service through the commander; or as a last resort arrange for service through foreign nation authorities when ship reaches port. In the meantime, contact the commander and refer to the military support regulation to try to get some support flowing.
  • Assistance with service of process can also be obtained from the service representatives noted in Appendix C to this guide. These representatives are available to assist you, but will not accept service of process for the member.
  • Gathering Evidence From Members Assigned Overseas.
      • Members stationed overseas are subject to the host nation law on civil (and some criminal) matters. So, coordinate with the foreign "URESA" agency if one exists.
      • Or, use The Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, TIAS 7444, 23 UST 2555, March 18, 1970.
        • Text is reprinted at 28 U.S.C.A. 1781.
        • Signed by most nations where U.S. forces are stationed.
        • Any court in the U.S. can send a "letter rogatory" to judicial authorities where the member is stationed, asking the foreign court to order the member to produce the evidence. A sample form is at 28 U.S.C.A. 1781.
        • It may be possible to obtain blood samples through this mechanism; contract laboratories usually can make the necessary arrangements.

III. Surviving the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act

  • Cite: 50 United States Code Appendix 500-548, 560-593 (1990) (Supp. 1993).
  • In family law, there are several key provisions of the Act:
      • Stay of Proceedings (50 U.S.C. app. 521). Purpose —To permit delay of civil court proceedings where military service prevents a plaintiff or defendant in military service from asserting or protecting a legal right. If the court finds that there has been material effect, the court MUST order a stay.
        • The member’s request for a stay of proceedings must be granted unless military service does not materially affect his or her ability to defend. Key element of the service member’s burden - proving that the member’s military duty materially affected their ability to be present in court. [Olsen v Olsen, 87 Ohio App. 3d 12 (1993) - Motion for stay should not have been denied without requisite findings of fact or sufficient evidence in the record to warrant denial].
        • Courts might not consider presence of service member necessary to the proceeding; thus, no stay is granted. See Shelor v. Shelor, 383 S.E.2d 895 (Ga. 1989). As general rule, temporary modifications of child support do not materially affect rights of military defendant as they are interlocutory and subject to modification. See also Williams v. Williams, 552 So.2d 531 (La. Ct. App. 1989). Facts of each case determine whether trial court abused discretion in refusing stay request.
      • Duration of Stay (50 U.S.C. app. § 524): Maximum duration of stay is the period of service plus 3 months after discharge. Following this period, defendant must appear in court. Realistically, courts will not grant unreasonably long stay requests.
      • Default Judgments (50 U.S.C. App. § 520) Purpose: to provide relief by affording the service member against whom a default judgment is entered a potential means to have the judgment reopened.
        • If there is default of any appearance by the defendant, before plaintiff can obtain a default judgment, plaintiff must submit an affidavit stating that the defendant is/is not in the military service or plaintiff does not know whether defendant is in the military service. A judgment obtained without the affidavit is voidable (not void) upon defendant’s showing that presentation of the defense was prejudiced by defendant’s service. Cf. Kirby v. Holman, 25 N.W.2d 664 (Iowa 1947) (fraudulent, false affidavit requires no showing of material effect to reopen).
        • The court then must appoint an attorney if the defendant is in the service and does not have an attorney present in court or if the plaintiff does not know whether the defendant is in the service [ 520(1)]. The responsibility of the court appointed attorney is to ascertain whether the defendant is in the military and, if so, typically to request a stay of proceedings in the defendant’s behalf. Ostrowski v. Pethick, 590 A.2d 1290 (Pa. Super. 1991) (judgment valid until properly attacked by service member).
        • 520(4): Member may request to reopen a default judgment if 1) there has been no appearance, 2) the service member has a meritorious or legal defense, and 3) military service adversely affected the member’s ability to defend. Application to reopen must be to same court that rendered the judgment. Davidson v. GFC, 295 F. Supp. 878 (N. D. Ga. 1968). See also Shatswell v. Shatswell, 758 F. Supp. 662 (D. Kan. 1991). The SSCRA does not empower a district court to collaterally review, vacate or impede decisions of state court. Scheidigg v. Dept. of Air Force, 715 F. Supp. 11 (D.N.H. 1989), aff’d, 915 F. 2d 1558 (1st Cir. 1990).
      • Stay or Vacation of Execution of Judgments, Attachments (50 U.S.C. app. 523). Any judgment or garnishment may be stayed or vacated unless military service does not materially affect member’s ability to comply. See McGlynn v. McGlynn, 178 Misc. 530, 35 N.Y.S.2d 6 (Sup. Ct. 1942) (service member could request modification of child support or alimony). Courts have granted prospective relief, as well. See McKinney v. McKinney, 50 N.Y.2d 8 (Sup. Ct. 1944) (husband initiated a proceeding to determine extent of his support obligation because of his change in circumstances when entered active duty).
  • Applicability.
      • Judicial Proceedings vs. Administrative Proceedings. By its statutory terms and interpretation, the SSCRA only applies to judicial proceedings. Consequently, in states with administrative procedures for child support enforcement, the provisions and protections of the SSCRA do not apply.
      • New DoD Directive 1327.5: Welfare Reform Act required DoD to redo its regulations on granting leave for purposes of participating in judicial or administrative proceedings for child support or paternity. DoD Directive 1327.5 is the DoD implementation of that law. The services are currently revising their service regulations.

IV. Settling Paternity Questions

    • Essentially a civilian matter.
      • The commander’s role—advise member of the paternity claim and refer him to counsel; assist member who acknowledges paternity; respond to complainant.
      • Commander has no authority to order a blood sample or to enforce compliance with a court order to submit a sample.
    • Voluntary samples drawn by military health officials are a possibility, but no set policy exists, and the degree of cooperation varies from location to location.
    • Health care for children born out of wedlock: They are entitled to military health care and insurance (TRICARE) if:
      • The child is acknowledged and supported by the member; or
      • There is a judicial decree of paternity.
      • A military ID card is required to prove eligibility. If the member will not cooperate in getting a card for the child, his or her commander can coordinate issuance of the card.

V. Setting the Support Obligation

  • Military pay: ignore the complexities and set support amount based on total pay. See Appendix F for a current pay chart, and request updates from local recruiters.
      • Military compensation consists of basic pay and possibly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence or Separate Rations (BAS or Sep Rats), special skill pay (flight pay, etc.), and bonuses (e.g., reenlistment bonuses).
        • Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a new pay designation. As of 1 January 1998, servicemembers receive BAH in place of what we used to call Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ) and Variable Housing Allowance (VHA). The BAH received by the servicemember reflects the old BAQ amount combined with the VHA rate for the locale.
        • Determining the old BAQ amounts is still important to understanding the pay (and under the Army regulation the support obligation imposed absent a court order or agreement). There is a separate table that identifies the amount of compensation that reflects the old BAQ with dependents rate and the differential (the amount reflecting the difference between what servicemembers with dependents and those without dependents draw). The table is called BAH Table II and Differential, and is included in the paychart at the end of the outline.
      • There is no set "military allotment" for family support.
        • The amount of BAH varies due to family status, but members with families get only about $100 to $150 more per month than single members who live off post.
        • However, members who do receive increased BAH because they have dependents can be disciplined, and past BAH payments can be recouped by the government, if the member fails to use the full amount of BAH received as a result of having dependents to support family members (absent an agreement or court order calling for a different amount). This fact provides some leverage when negotiating with a non-supporting member whom you know (or suspect) is drawing "BAH with dependents."
        • The amount of BAH is not intended by the Armed Forces or Congress to constitute adequate support for families.
      • In general, all pay and allowances may be considered in setting the support obligation. It may also be appropriate under state law/guidelines to consider the following factors:
        • All members receive BAS/Sep Rats or they live in government accommodations and eat in the mess hall for free; this "in kind" compensation may justify an upward adjustment of cash income in setting support. Thus, the BAH (and BAS/etc.) amount perhaps should be constructively added to the member’s pay, as the reasonable value of the "in kind" income, even if (s)he is not receiving these components of military pay.
        • BAH, BAS/Sep Rats, are not taxable, and if state guidelines are based on gross pay (and thus assume that the obligors pay an average tax rate on their full income), it may be appropriate to adjust military pay upward to factor in the nonexistent taxes. The amount of the adjustment would be the marginal tax rate on the member’s nontaxable income. It may also be appropriate to add in the employee’s share of FICA taxes.
      • A member can be entitled to a limited BAH payment based solely on paternity of a child born out of wedlock (and generally all the BAH money received solely as a result of having this child must be used to support the child).
    • Determining the member’s income.
      • Get copies of monthly pay statements — (called Leave and Earning Statements (LES)) — insist on seeing total gross income as well as other data.
      • Carefully review allotment deductions — they can be manipulated (e.g., an allotment can be part of an automatic savings plan).
      • A Freedom of Information Act request for copies of pay statements may be honored. Appendix D is a sample request.
      • Additional information available from these statements:
        • How much leave the member has accrued — is an SSCRA delay really needed?
        • What state the member claims as domicile for income tax purposes — may help establish jurisdiction.
        • Whether or not he is receiving BAH and BAS/Sep Rats.
        • How many dependents are being claimed for income tax purposes.
      • Do review tax returns to discover other income, but do not use them to determine gross military income — much of it is tax free.
    • Military support regulations.
      • Uniform policy: Military duty will not be used as a basis for avoiding family support obligations, but setting an adequate level of support is a civilian matter!
      • Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard directives do specify an amount of support, but these figures are intended to be used only when there is no agreement between the parties and no court order.
      • Considerations in using these regulations to establish a support obligation.
  • Enforcement is uneven, especially regarding payment of arrearages.
  • Usually state guidelines require more support, but in some cases the regulations call for more money than guidelines (e.g., perhaps for a child born out of wedlock).
  • Best bet: use these regulations as an interim measure while the matter is pending in court.
  • Always seek a judicial or administrative support order at the earliest opportunity.

VI. Separating the Soldier from his Money: Support Enforcement

  • Military support regulations.
      • Cites: Army, 32 C.F.R. Part 584, Army Regulation 608-99, 1 Nov 94; Navy/Marine Corps, 32 C.F.R. Part 733; Air Force, 32 C.F.R. Part 818.
      • Regulations require members to pay support in accordance with support agreements and court orders. In the absence of a court order or agreement, Army and Marine regulations criminalize failure to pay support at a level generally equivalent to a member’s authorized "Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)." All other services have established "guidelines" for use by the commander where there is no court order or support agreement.
      • Enforcement is within commander’s discretion, and commander can only punish for failure to comply — he or she cannot direct that a member’s pay be diverted to family members, even if a court order exists. With a court order, family members can receive pay withheld involuntarily from a member through use of garnishments, involuntary allotments and wage assignment discussed below.
    • Voluntary allotments.
      • There are two distinct types of allotments — voluntary and involuntary (or, "mandatory").
      • Continuation of a voluntary allotment is completely within the member’s control — it can be started and stopped at will. A voluntary allotment is merely a convenience the government offers members to help them pay their monthly obligations.
      • Involuntary allotments are entirely different, and they are discussed in paragraph D, below.
    • Garnishment.
      • Cites: 42 U.S.C. §§ 659-662; 5 C.F.R. Part 581.
      • Allowable bases: enforcement of periodic family support obligations (including costs and attorney fees if state law defines these items as components of "support").
      • Pay subject to garnishment: (1) federal civilian employee pay and retirement annuities; (2) military active duty pay (basic pay and certain bonuses, but not BAH and BAS/Sep Rats); (3) military retired pay; (4) military reserve pay; (5) any other "remuneration for employment" — see 42 U.S.C. § 662(f).
      • Procedure. See 5 C.F.R. Part 581.
        • Obtain garnishment order from state court (naming the employing federal agency as garnishee).
        • Serve the order, with a copy of the underlying support order, on the employing agency by registered or certified mail; include member’s (or employee’s) name, status (i.e., active duty, civilian, retiree, etc.), and social security number.
        • Agency addresses: see Appendix E.
      • Amount subject to garnishment: lower of state or federal ceiling (federal rule: 50% to 60% of net pay, depending on family situation and length of time in arrears; arrears in excess of 12 weeks adds 5% to each of those figures see 15 U.S.C. § 1673).
      • Member’s defenses: garnishment for impermissible purpose; obligor’s noncompliance with 5 C.F.R. Part 581; subsequent litigation enjoining the garnishment; and possibly an appeal of the underlying support order, depending on state law.
    • Involuntary Allotments (a.k.a. "Mandatory Allotments").
      • Cites: 42 U.S.C. § 665; 32 C.F.R. Part 54.
      • "Allotment" is a misnomer — these are wage withholding actions enforceable against active duty military pay (basic pay, plus bonuses, plus BAH and BAS in some cases).
      • Virtually always superior to garnishment actions — easier to obtain, last longer, and more money is usually available.
        • Prerequisites.
          • A court or administrative order establishing a child support (or spousal and child support) obligation.
          • An arrearage in an amount equal to or greater than two months support under the obligation.
        • Procedure.
          • Any court or any state CSE agent sends notice to the military requesting initiation of an involuntary allotment.
          • "Notice" can simply be a letter--see Appendix F. No prior notice to the obligor is necessary.
          • Send it to the same officials as for garnishments (see Appendix E), registered or certified mail.
          • Include the member’s name and social security number; a statement that there are arrearages equal to or greater than 2 months support (and, if true, that the obligor is in arrears for more than 12 weeks); a copy of the underlying order certified by the clerk of the court (or head of the administrative agency if an administrative order); the date the allotment should stop; and a statement certifying that the writer is an "authorized person" per 32 C.F.R. Part 54.3 (i.e., a state CSE agent).
        • The allotment will be for the amount of the monthly support obligation; if arrearages are sought, they must be requested and there must be a court or administrative order requiring the payment of accrued arrearages.
        • Limitations on allotment amount: same as federal limits for garnishment (50%-60% plus 5% if 12 weeks in arrears), but the amount of pay available for attachment usually is greater.
  • Member’s defenses. Establish by affidavit and evidence that:
    • The underlying order has been vacated or modified; or
    • The amount alleged to be in arrears is erroneous.
  • State Wage Withholding Orders.
    • Administrative wage withholding notices that are based on a conditional court order and an arrearage sometimes are not honored by military pay offices; they may insist on a subsequent order issued by a court. When sending an administrative withholding order, include a copy of the applicable statute to show that it constitutes valid "process" under state law. Military pay offices always should honor automatic wage withholding orders (i.e., those that take effect whether or not there is an arrearage). Send wage withholding orders to the office that receives garnishment orders (see Appendix E).
    • State wage withholdings are processed under the same regulation as garnishments (5 C.F.R. Part 581).
    • Active duty pay subject to withholding is basic pay and some bonuses, but not BAH nor BAS/Sep Rations; compare this to the scheme for involuntary allotments.
    • The same limitation of 50%-60% (plus 5% for 12 weeks in arrears) net pay applies.
  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.
    • Cites: 10 U.S.C. § 1408; 32 C.F.R. Part 63.
    • Essentially, authorizes wage withholding against military retired pay for child support and/or spousal support obligations created by a final decree of divorce or legal separation (but not a paternity decree).
    • No arrearage is necessary to trigger the withholding; the former spouse can initiate a direct payment simply by written request to the appropriate finance center (see Appendix E). See 32 C.F.R. Part 63.
    • Right to receive direct payment is personal to the former spouse and cannot be assigned to a CSE agency, although a request for payment through such an agency may be honored.
    • Alternatives to using this Act against retired pay--consider garnishments and state wage withholding orders.
    • Recent amendments make arrearages collectable.

VII. Conclusion

  • Military members can be required to provide support for their children, but first you have to locate them. Always get and keep social security numbers in your records.
  • Military regulations may be of only marginal help in getting support. Similarly, a promise to pay support through a voluntary allotment can be revoked without violating any military regulations. Therefore, you should pursue getting a support order as soon as possible.
  • Other than the possibility of temporary delays under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, neither federal law nor military regulations provide military members with any special protection from American or foreign court proceedings to establish paternity and a support obligation.
  • Treaties can allow you to pursue a support matter against members who are stationed overseas.
  • Use state guidelines, not "military allotments" or BAH, to set the correct amount of support.
  • If you have general questions regarding support enforcement against military personnel or need assistance in a specific case, contact the legal office at your nearest military installation or the agency points of contact listed in Appendix C.

Appendix A

1. Addresses for Worldwide Locator Services (for member’s military address)

Army Active Duty:
Army Worldwide Locator
USAEREC
8899 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249
(703) 325-3732

Navy:
Navy Personnel Command
(Pers 312)
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-3120
(901) 874-3388

Coast Guard:
Commander (MPC-53)
U.S. Coast Guard
2100 2nd St. SW
Washington DC 20593
(202) 267-1340

Army Reserve/Retired:
Commander
ARPERCEN
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132
(314) 538-3777

Air Force:
Headquarters
AFMPC/RMIQL
550 C St. West, Suite 50
Randolph AFB, TX 78150
(210) 652-5774/5775/6377

Marine Corps:
Headquarters, U.S.M.C.
Code MMSB-10
2008 Elliot Rd., Rm. 201
Quantico, VA 22134
(703) 784-3942

Note: Civilian requesters, including state and local officials and agents, must submit requests in writing, preferably on office letterhead. Appendix B is a sample letter requesting a member’s home address.

2. Sample Letter to Locator Services

[Your agency or office letterhead]

[Locator Address from above list]

Re: SGT John Jones, SSN: 123-45-6789

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please advise me of the military unit and duty station address for the referenced individual, whom I believe to be an active duty member of the [Army, Navy, etc.]. The information should be sent to my attention at the letterhead address. Alternatively, a telephonic response is acceptable. My office phone number is (000) 123-4567.

This request is made in my official capacity as a child support enforcement agent for [county, state, etc.]. Since we are a public agency, I request that the normal fee for this information be waived. If you need any further information regarding this request, please call me.

Sincerely,

Appendix B
Request for Home Address

[Your office or agency letterhead]

Commander, Fort Blank
Attn: Military Personnel Officer
Fort Blank, CA 98765-4321

Re: SGT John Jones, SSN: 123-45-6789

Dear Sir or Madam:

This request is submitted pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. I request to be advised of the named member’s home address. Since I am the head of a [state] [county] governmental agency engaged in a civil and/or criminal law enforcement activity in this matter, as authorized by state law, I believe that the requested disclosure constitutes a routine use of this information from the member’s personnel records.

Additionally, I believe this information is generally releasable in this case under FOIA, notwithstanding the Privacy Act. I am acting in my capacity as the head of a public law enforcement agency on a matter involving the establishment and enforcement of this member’s child support obligation, and I require a home address to fully discharge my responsibilities under state law. The public interest in disclosure to achieve child support enforcement outweighs the member’s privacy interests, and therefore release would not constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy.

The information is sought by a public agency; it will not be used for commercial purposes or for anyone’s commercial gain. In view of this fact, and since the search should not require more than 2 hours and fewer than 100 pages are being requested, I assume there will be no chargeable search and reproduction fees. If fees must be assessed, however, please notify me so I can make appropriate arrangements.

I certify that I am authorized by law to collect this information. Please send your response to my attention at the letterhead address. If you need any further information in order to process this request, please call me at (area code) number.

Sincerely,

District Attorney

[This letter should be signed by the director of a law enforcement agency]

For Army Retirees send letter to: U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, Retired and Veterans Affairs Division, ATTN: DACF-IS-RV, Alexandria, VA 22331-0522

Appendix C
Additional Sources of Assistance in Enforcing Support Obligations and Facilitating Service of Legal Process to Enforce Family Support Matters

Army:
Office of the Judge Advocate General
ATTN: DAJA-LA
2200 Army Pentagon
Washington DC 20310
(703) 588-6708

Navy:
Bureau of Naval Personnel
Office of Legal Counsel
(Pers O6)
2 Navy Annex
Washington DC 20370-5006
(703) 325-7928

Marine Corps:
Paralegal Specialist
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (JAR)
2 Navy Annex
Washington DC 20380
(703) 614-3880

Air Force:
AFLSA/JACA
1420 Air Force Pentagon
Washington DC 20330-1420
(703) 697-0413

Coast Guard:
United States Coast Guard
G-PC (USCG)
Room 4100E, CGHQ
Department of Transportation
Washington, D.C. 20590
(202) 267-2799

The agency points of contact listed above are designated officials responsible for facilitating the service of legal process on members of the Uniformed Services. They may also provide useful assistance in resolving problems created by a nonresponsive chain of command. Tips for using these agencies:

1. Write the member’s commander first.

2. Provide the member’s name and social security number.

3. Give specific facts on periods of nonsupport or other problems. Note your previous efforts to resolve the issues and state how the results were unsatisfactory.

4. State clearly the relief you seek (e.g., current support, past support, a military dependent ID card, etc.). These agencies will ensure that the command is aware of the problem, that the member is counseled regarding support obligations, and that your complaint is answered.

Appendix D
Sample Freedom of Information Act Request for Pay Information

[Your Office Letterhead]

Defense Finance & Accounting Service Center

[Use the "garnishment" address from Appendix E, but replace the "ATTN" or "Code" line with "ATTN: Freedom of Information Act Officer"]

Reference: SGT John Jones, SSN: 123-45-6789, a/an [active duty] [retired] [reserve] member of the [Army, Navy, etc.]

Dear Sir or Madam:

This request is submitted pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. I request copies of the three most recent monthly military pay statements for the above-referenced individual. Since I am the head of a [state] [county] governmental agency engaged in a civil and/or criminal law enforcement activity in this matter, as authorized by state law, I believe that disclosure of the requested information is authorized.

My official duties include gathering information relevant to setting appropriate levels of child support and conducting law enforcement actions on behalf of the state in individual cases. The requested documents will be used to determine the proper level of support for the member’s minor children and to evaluate appropriate enforcement actions. Therefore, I specifically need at least the following information from the pay statements: the member’s pay grade and amounts and types of monthly pay and allowances; the current leave balance; the domicile claimed for state income tax purposes; and the number of exemptions claimed for tax purposes. If the Privacy Act requires it, I have no objection to your deleting information relating to the member’s SSAN and to allotments that are being deducted from military pay.

The information is sought by a public agency; it will not be used for commercial purposes or for anyone’s commercial gain. In view of this fact, and since the search should not require more than 2 hours and fewer than 100 pages are being requested, I assume there will be no chargeable search and reproduction fees. If fees must be assessed, however, please notify me so I can make appropriate arrangements.

I certify that I am authorized by law to collect this information. Please send your response to my attention at the letterhead address. If you need any further information in order to process this request, please call me at (000) 123-4567.

Sincerely,

District Attorney

[This letter should be signed by the director of a law enforcement agency.]

Appendix E
Addresses for Service of Garnishment and Other Orders

Army: Use the address for the Cleveland Center.

Air Force: Use the address for the Cleveland Center.

Marine Corps: Use the address for the Cleveland Center.

Navy:
Defense Finance & Accounting Service
Cleveland Center
Garnishment Operations Directorate
Code L
PO Box 998002
Cleveland, OH 44199-8002
(216) 522-5301

Coast Guard:
Commanding Officer (LGL)
U.S. Coast Guard Pay and Personnel Center
Federal Building
444 SE Quincy Street
Topeka, KS 66683-3591
(913) 295-2984

Other federal agencies and DOD civilians:
See Appendix A in 5 C.F.R. Part 581.

Appendix F
Sample Involuntary Allotment Request Letter

[Agency Letterhead]

Commander
[Finance Center]

Reference: SGT John J. Jones, SSN: 123-45-6789, U.S. [insert service ]

Dear Sir:

This letter constitutes notice of delinquent support payments and a request for initiation of a mandatory allotment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 665.

Sergeant Jones is subject to a court order (certified copy enclosed) that requires him to pay periodic child support in the amount of $ 200.00 per month. He has failed to fully meet this obligation, and his arrears exceed the total support payable for a 2-month period under the order. [Moreover, a portion of the arrearage pertains to payments that are more than 12 weeks overdue].

I request initiation of a mandatory allotment from the member’s active duty pay in the amount of $ 200.00, the monthly support obligation created by the order. It should be paid to this agency at the following address:

[Insert the full name and address for the person or agency that is to receive the allotment--or, payment can be directly to the custodial parent]

Please continue the allotment until [insert date child will be emancipated by reason of age under state law] or such earlier date as this agency may later advise you.

I certify that I am an "authorized person" as that term is defined in 42 U.S.C. 666 and 32 C.F.R. Part 54. I am an agent of a state with an approved Title IV-D program under the Social Security Act, and my duties include seeking recovery of amounts owed as child support or child and spousal support. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Child Support Enforcement Agent

Enclosure

[copy of support order certified by the clerk of the issuing court]

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