Golden Gate University Law Review


Georgetta Beck


This Comment presents an overview of procedures which the practitioner may employ to obtain spousal and child support from a service member stationed in the United States, identifies problems which may arise in these efforts, and discusses strategies to overcome those obstacles. The first section explains the military procedure for obtaining support and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of that approach. This Comment will focus on Army procedure and regulations; other branches of the Armed Forces have a similar, but not identical, approach to the pervasive problem of nonsupport. The second section discusses problems peculiar to obtaining a support order against the service member through state court. This includes perfecting personal service on Army personnel stationed on federal territory, and the applicability of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The SSCRA was enacted to protect service members who, because of military service, are unable to protect their rights. Its stay and default judgment provisions can create complications for the practitioner. The requirements of those provisions and the factors which the courts consider relevant in denying or granting relief thereunder are discussed. The last section of this Comment focuses upon enforcement of the state court order - whether by obtaining the service member's voluntary compliance, possibly with the aid of military channels, or by garnishment. SSCRA problems in the area of support enforcement will also be addressed. In contrast to the difficulties which can arise in obtaining a support judgment, enforcement can usually be accomplished with relative ease.

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