This topic contains information on the following subjects:
The paternity establishment process for military personnel begins in the same way as in civilian CSS cases. During the initial interview with the custodial parent (CP), local CSS should secure the Affidavit Of Parentage (DSS-4697) and any sworn statements of past support. If a demand for child support has not previously been made, CSS should make a demand at this time.
If the defendant's location is known (or when determined later), the responsible CSS caseworker should generate and mail the Demand Letter To AP (NCP) For Support (DSS-4515). Three (3) copies of the sworn Affidavit of Parentage signed by the mother should be included with the Demand Letter for the military member/noncustodial parent (NCP) to sign.
The military member/NCP should be given the opportunity to respond to the demand before the local CSS agency requests assistance from the base commander. If the assistance of the base commander becomes necessary, a letter should be sent to the commander.
When the Affidavit of Parentage is completed, caseworkers forward the original signed Affidavit to North Carolina Vital Records (if the child was born in NC) or to the vital statistics agency in the state where the child was born. Also they send a copy to the CP and to the military member/NCP.
If the military member/NCP wants to establish a voluntary allotment, CSS can send a Voluntary Support Agreement (DSS-4517) to the military member/NCP to complete and present to a finance officer. If paternity was settled by an Affidavit Of Parentage, the NCP must also present his copy of the Affidavit to the finance officer. (However, local CSS agencies should always attempt to obtain a support agreement or order that includes a provision for income withholding.)
The military member/NCP can also use the documents discussed previously to apply for a military dependents' ID card. This ID card qualifies the child (or the entire family) for TRICARE medical assistance, Post Exchange, and Commissary privileges. With the proper documentation, CPs also can enroll a child in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
Military personnel from all branches of service earn thirty (30) days of leave annually, accruing at the rate of two and a half (2.5) days per month. A military member/noncustodial parent (NCP) can be granted leave to attend a hearing in connection with a civil action for paternity and/or support. However, circumstances can exist that prevent a commanding officer from approving leave (as defined in Section 101, Title 10 of the United States Code.)
EX: A commanding officer could be prevented from granting leave because the military member/NCP is part of a routinely deployable unit.
Military personnel who are going through basic or advanced training might be unable to appear in court due to the training schedule. No extra days are built into a military trainee's schedule to accommodate court dates, depositions, or family emergencies. A military member who is absent from portions of training would have to repeat the same training program in its entirety.
The commander's roles are:
1. To advise the member of the paternity claim and to refer him to counsel;
2. To assist those members who wish to acknowledge paternity; and
3. To respond to the complaint.
The commander has no authority to order the member to comply with paternity testing or to enforce compliance with a court order to submit a paternity test sample.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these manuals, please contact your local county office.