How can a civilian get a spousal support order enforced?

Yes, military pay can be garnished for certain permissible purposes, and spousal support is a listed permissible purpose. Other types of pay that can be garnished are military retirement pay, reserve pay, federal civilian employee pay (if the spouse is a civilian employee of the military, say).

The company or unit commander is responsible for the enforcement of an interim support order, as required by military regulations, for example. After a court order is obtained, the service member’s pay can be garnished or a portion can be allotted to child support, as required in the court order.

Neither the housing allowance nor the food allowance is subject to garnishment or taxes, for that matter. All other forms of active pay can be garnished, including special skills pay.

A civilian spouse can use an “involuntary allotment,” also called a “mandatory allotment.” An involuntary allotment is a wage-withholding order that is enforceable against service members.

An allotment is can attach basic pay and the housing allowance, which cannot be done under a garnishment, and it is easier to obtain than a garnishment.