Military Deployment/ Activation Update
For members of the DE National Guard, DE Air Force Reserve, Army Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Navy Reserve and Coast Guard Reserve:
- Delaware National Guard
- 512th Airlift Wing
- U.S. Army Reserve
- U.S. Navy Reserve
- U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
- Question: I have a child support
income withholding order (wage attachment) at my full time civilian job. How can I make sure that
my child support continues to be deducted from my paycheck once I am on active duty?
Answer: Call the Division of Child Support's Customer Service Unit to have your income withholding order (wage attachment) transferred to Defense Finance and Accounting System (DFAS).
- Question: I have a full time civilian job. What can I do if I earn
less money on active duty?
Answer: If you earn less income when you are called for active-duty, you can request to have your child support order changed.
- Question: How do I have my child support court order changed?
Answer: If you have a Delaware order, you should fill out a Petition for Support Modification and file it with the proper court that handles your case.
The Court needs to know your anticipated dates of deployment, rank and years in service, current civilian income, and whether your employer will provide any compensation and benefits during your deployment. Documentation such as military orders, LES statements, civilian pay stubs and letters from employers will make it more likely that the Court will be able to provide appropriate relief. To help ensure that your petition is given highest priority, write "Guard/Reserve" in the upper right hand corner of your petition.
- Question: What will happen if I am deployed before my child support
case is heard at
Answer: If your deployment is imminent, you should file a Motion for Interim Financial Relief in conjunction with your Petition for Support Modification. A Family Court Commissioner will review the motion and may, with or without a hearing, issue a temporary modification until you return to your civilian job. It is imperative that a copy of the Petition for Support Modification be sent by certified mail to the opposing party's last known mailing address. If your request is not granted prior to your deployment, the Court will then be able to grant retroactive relief if warranted upon your return.
- Question: How can I file for a Petition
for Support Modification after I am deployed?
Answer: If you determine that you need to file a Petition for Support Modification after you are deployed, confer with your JAG Officer for general filing information.
- Question: If I file a Petition for Support Modification, will my
child support automatically be reduced?
Answer: No. A review may result in an upward or downward modification, or may indicate that no change is warranted at this time.
- Question: Who do I call if I need help completing the Petition for
Answer: If you have a Delaware child support order contact the Family Court of the State of Delaware.* If your child support order is from another state, contact that state's court.
- Question: How can I
Answer: There are several ways in which paternity/parentage may be established. When a married or civil marriage/union couple has a child, the law automatically recognizes both parents.
When a child is born out-of-wedlock, paternity can be established in court using the standard judicial process or the biological parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. The Delaware Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity program enables unmarried biological parents to establish paternity outside of Court as long as the child was born in Delaware. Other States have similar Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Programs too.
Only the biological parents may sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity. If you are not sure who the biological parent is, do not sign the Acknowledgement. You should have a paternity test, sometimes called a genetic test. Delaware offers discounted genetic testing for parents who are NOT clients of the child support too. For more information about genetic testing you can contact:
- the Division of Child Support Services Customer Service Unit, or
- your attorney
- your physician
- Question: Why should I
establish paternity before I am deployed?
Answer: Establishing paternity gives a child born out-of-wedlock the same right to benefits as children of married or civil marriage/union parents. These include death benefits. For example, if the parent dies, the child could qualify for social security benefits, veteran's benefits, life insurance, pension and inheritance rights. Establishing paternity is also the first step to providing health care benefits for children born out-of-wedlock. According to the January 28, 2008, Memorandum for Secretaries of the Military Departments, the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity can be used by service members to determine dependency for health care benefits. Many people don't realize this but, unless legal paternity has been established, a child may not be able to claim these benefits from his/her parent.
- Question: How do I provide
health care benefits for children born out-of-wedlock?
Answer: According to the Administration for Children and Families, "The new protocol will allow the sponsor or custodial parent, of a child born out of wedlock, to go to the nearest military installation with an ID card issuance site (a specific service branch affiliation is not required) to determine dependent child status. Once the installation military technician validates the voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form, a sample of which is available online at www.ocse.acf.hhs.gov/necsrs/pubs/vap_forms/ the documents are then scanned into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) database and the child(ren) is(are) enrolled to receive coverage."
- Question: Do both of us have to be in Delaware to sign the
Answer: No. The Acknowledgment can be mailed to a biological parent anywhere to be signed. For example, if the father lives in another state, the form can be mailed to him. If he decides to sign it, he must sign it in front of a notary public and mail it back. After both parents have signed the Acknowledgement of Paternity, the completed form can be sent to the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics.
- Question: Is there a fee to sign the Acknowledgement?
Answer: No. There is no fee to sign the Acknowledgement or to send it to the Office of Vital Statistics. There is a small fee to get a new copy of your child's birth certificate.
Also, the Acknowledgement form must be notarized. If parents come to their local Division of Child Support Services office to have the Acknowledgement form notarized, there is no fee. Some notaries outside of the Division of Child Support Services may charge a small fee for their notary service.
- Question: Who do I call if I have questions about establishing
Answer: For more information about the Acknowledgement of Paternity program or about child support services, you may contact your local Division of Child Support Services office.