32 CFR 584.1 - General.

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§ 584.1 General.

(a)Purpose. This regulation sets forth the Department of the Army (DA) policy, responsibilities, and procedures on -

(1) Support and nonsupport of family members.

(2) Child custody.

(3) Paternity claims.

(4) Adoption proceedings involving the children of soldiers.

(b)References. Required and related publications and prescribed and referenced forms are listed in appendix A.

(c)Explanation of abbreviations and terms. Abbreviations and special terms used in this regulation are explained in the glossary.


(1) The Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel will set policy for processing -

(i) Nonsupport complaints.

(ii) Child custody complaints.

(iii) Paternity claims.

(iv) Requests on adoption proceedings of children of soldiers.

(2) The Commanding General (CG), U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center (USACFSC) will -

(i) Set procedures for processing the following:

(A) Nonsupport complaints.

(B) Child custody complaints.

(C) Paternity claims.

(D) Requests regarding adoption proceedings of children of soldiers.

(ii) Process nonsupport complaints, child custody complaints, and paternity claims received at USACFSC regarding Army soldiers.

(iii) Carry out the objectives of this regulation to protect the rights of the soldier, the family, and the interests of the Army.

(iv) Advise and assist the heads of Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) agencies, commanders of the major Army commands, and other commanders on matters pertaining to -

(A) Nonsupport.

(B) Child custody.

(C) Paternity.

(D) Adoption proceedings of children of soldiers.

(3) Officers having general court-martial jurisdiction will give special emphasis to the support of family members in command information programs. This includes informing soldiers of Army policy and of their responsibility to provide adequate support for all family members and to comply with all court orders.

(4) First level field grade commanders will monitor all instances of soldiers' repeated failure to meet the requirements of this regulation that are brought to their attention. They will take action, when proper.

(5) Immediate commanders will -

(i) Ensure that soldiers are informed of the DA policy on support of family members and that they comply with court orders. They will also inform soldiers of the possible consequences of failing to fulfill financial obligations. This information will be included during inprocessing and outprocessing briefings, particularly during processing for mobilization and oversea movement.

(ii) Process nonsupport complaints, child custody complaints, and paternity claims per this regulation.

(iii) Counsel soldiers when complaints and claim are received. If the soldier is suspected of criminal conduct, self-incrimination protections (article 31, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and rights advisement) must be provided. (See § 584.2(g)(4).)

(iv) Answer all correspondence received from CG, USACFSC and other DA officials. In answering this correspondence, the commander will -

(A) Furnish complete details regarding nonsupport complaints, child custody complaints, and paternity claims.

(B) Reveal whether or not the soldier authorized the release outside the Department of Defense (DOD) of information obtained from a system of records. His or her decision should be recorded on DA Form 5459-R (Authorization to Release Information from Army Records on Nonsupport/Child Custody/Paternity Complaints).

(v) Answer all correspondence received directly from family members, legal assistance attorneys, and others. Normally, replies will not include information obtained from a system of records without the soldier's written consent. (See § 584.1(f).) Commanders may coordinate responses with the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA). Also, the commander will ask the SJA for guidance in unusual or difficult situations.

(vi) Inform the first level field grade commander of all instances of the soldier's repeated failure to meet the requirements of this regulation or to comply with court orders. Also, point out actions taken or contemplated to correct instances of nonsupport of family members or continuing violations of court orders.

(vii) Refer correspondence or queries received from news media organizations to the unit, installation, or command public affairs officer for response.

(viii) Take appropriate action against soldiers who fail to comply with this regulation. These actions include, but are not limited to, the actions in § 584.1(d)(5)(viii) (A) through (E). Failure to comply with the minimum support requirements ( § 584.2(d)) or the child custody provisions ( § 584.2(e)) of this regulation may be charged as violations of article 92, UCMJ. Article 132, UCMJ, prohibits the making of false claims. Article 133, UCMJ, covers conduct unbecoming an officer. Article 134, UCMJ, concerns dishonorable failure to pay debts and conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces. Also, the criminal laws of some States prohibit the abduction of children by a parent or the nonsupport of family members in violation of existing court orders. These laws may also apply against soldiers under article 134, UCMJ, and Assimilative Crimes Act, section 13, title 18, United States Code ( 18 U.S.C. 13).

(A) Denial of reenlistment for enlisted members (AR 601-280).

(B) Letter of reprimand for filing in a soldier's Military Personnel Records Jacket or Official Military Personnel File (AR 600-37).

(C) Administrative separation from the service (AR 635-100 or AR 635-200).

(D) Nonjudicial punishment under article 15, UCMJ.

(E) Court-martial.

(ix) Urge soldiers to provide additional financial support beyond the required minimum whether the needs of the family so require.

(x) After coordination with the SJA and appropriate command representatives, and under applicable State, Federal, and host country laws, take remedial steps to assist in the following:

(A) Elimination of continuing violations of court orders and this regulation on child custody.

(B) Return of such children to the parent or guardian entitled to custody.

(6) The unit, installation, or command public affairs officer will -

(i) Answer correspondence and queries received from news media organizations.

(ii) Coordinate with the SJA before making any response.


(1) Soldiers of the Army are required to manage their personal affairs statisfactorily. This responsibility includes -

(i) Providing adequate and continuous support to or for family members. (See § 584.2.)

(ii) Complying with all court orders.

(2) The Army has an interest in the welfare of both soldiers and their families. This is recognized by numerous laws and programs authorizing the following:

(i) Family housing.

(ii) Living and travel allowances.

(iii) Medical care.

(iv) Child care and development.

(v) Community support services.

(3) Because of military duty, soldiers and their families often live in States in which they have not established domicile. Frequently, they reside in foreign nations. This often places soldiers beyond the judicial process of State courts.

(4) The Army recognizes the transient nature of military duty. This regulation prohibits the use of a soldier's military status or assignment to deny financial support to family members or to evade court orders on child support or custody. Commanders have a responsibility to ensure that soldiers provide for the welfare of their families. Before recommending approval of requests for, or extensions of, oversea assignments, commanders should consider whether the soldier's oversea assignment will adversely affect the legal rights of family members in pending court actions against the soldier.

(5) The policy in this regulation regarding the financial support of family members is solely intended as an interim measure until the parties -

(i) Arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement, or

(ii) Resolve their differences in court.

(6) Soldiers are entitled to the same legal rights and privileges in State courts as civilians. This includes determining the extent and amount of their support obligations to family members. This regulation is not intended to be used as a guide by courts in determining the following:

(i) The existence of support obligations.

(ii) The amount of past, present, or future support obligations.

(f)Release of information.

(1) Soldiers will be provided the opportunity of completing DA Form 5459-R before being questioned about compliants or claims under this regulation. Information voluntarily provided by soldiers may be used by commanders to answer inquiries. Replies normally will not include information obtained from a system of records without the soldier's written consent.

(2) Some information may be released outside DOD from a system of records even without the soldier's written consent. Under the Privacy Act ( 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2) and AR 340-21, para 3-3), information may be released, if required, under the Freedom of Information Act. Under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6) and AR 340-17, chapter III, information from personnel and other similar files may be released if it does not constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.” The information released must be in the public interest.

(3) The type of information that may be released from a system of records without the soldier's consent will vary from case to case. In each case, the public interest of having soldiers support their families and obey court orders must be balanced against the sensitivity of the privacy interests involved. Army policy favors permanent resolution of support and custody matters in court. The denial of information that hinders such resolution is not in the public interest.

(4) Before releasing information from a system of records without the soldier's consent, commanders may consult the SJA. Generally, the types of information shown below may be released to the complaining family member entitled to support or those authorized by the family member to act in his or her behalf (for example, legal assistance attorneys, Member of Congress, courts, Government welfare agencies).

(i) Present unit of assignment, including port calls and future duty assignments, permanent or temporary, if known.

(ii) Scheduled separation and retirement dates from the Service.

(iii) Rank and authorized pay and allowances for that grade.

(iv) Allotments authorized or being authorized for or in behalf of the family member entitled to support.

(v) The soldier's stated intentions, if any, regarding resolution of the complaint.

(vi) The general whereabouts of the soldier's children, if known.

(5) The SJA should be consulted for legal advice before the residential address of a soldier or family member is released.

(6) Any information released should be pertinent to the inquiry. The soldier's relationship, if any, to the person making the inquiry, should be considered. Consistent with the purpose of this regulation, information that unduly invades the privacy of the soldier or his or her family should not be released.

(g)Penalties. Compliance with the minimum support requirements § 584.2(d)) and child custody provisions ( § 584.2(e)) of this regulation will be enforced by administrative and criminal remedies as appropriate.

(h)Basic allowance for quarters. A summary of the rules regarding entitlements to basic allowance for quarters (BAQ) is in § 584.7. The minimum support requirements of this regulation are stated in amounts equal to a soldier's BAQ at the “with dependents” rate. However, a soldier's entitlement or lack of entitlement to such allowances has no relationship to the obligation under this regulation to support family members. Except for § 584.2(f)(2)(ii)(B), the actual receipt or nonreceipt of BAQ also has no relationship to that obligation.

(i)Entitlement of variable housing allowance. Soldiers entitled to BAQ at the “with” or “without dependents” rate may be entitled to variable housing allowance (VHA). Terms for receiving VHA are set forth in the Joint Travel Regulations, M4550 through M4557. Soldiers may use VHA to defray housing costs for family members.

(j)Garnishment. A summary of the rules regarding garnishment of Federal wages is in § 584.8.

(k)Involuntary allotments. A summary of the rules regarding involuntary allotments from pay and allowances is in § 584.9.