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Military Divorce – Questions about the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

Wednesday, 02 May 2012

military_divorce_retirementAre you going through a military divorce in Colorado? With the strong military presence throughout the state, it is not uncommon to find law offices that devote most of their time to military divorce.  Most people aren’t aware of the complexities of a military divorce until they start dealing with the reality of it.  According to Colorado military divorce lawyers, many of the most frequently asked questions for military divorce lawyers pertain to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).  In other words, how does one live separately from his or her spouse during the divorce without access to the military’s basic housing allowance?  If your husband or wife is in the military, is he or she still required to provide the family with monetary support?  The military guidelines say yes – even without a court-ordered support document.

Are the military’s guidelines about the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) legally binding in a military divorce?

Truth is, these rules are not legally binding.  They should be used as a substitute for any court-ordered child or spousal support orders.  That said, the support guidelines for a service member indicate that he or she should provide a portion of his or her gross earnings to support a spouse.  This is where it gets tricky because technically, the military’s interpretation of “gross pay” includes financial compensation and BAH (if eligible) but it does not include extras such as hazardous duty pay or sea pay.

The good news for those who are collecting support, there is no need to wait until a service member is back home and available to attend a court hearing.  Support-eligible spouses and dependents can contact the command chaplain or stop by a basic legal aid office and start receiving support without a court order.  Eventually a court order will be issued regarding the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and other sources of military income.  However, the actual amount of support will greatly depend on state laws and the relevant circumstances of the divorce.  Once a support amount has been established by the court, the non-military spouse can contact the service member’s command and request the allotment to be set up as a direct deposit into their personal account.

Since the Basic Allowance for Housing (or BAH) is a non-taxable allowance paid to military service members who are not living in government housing, it is considered a form of income that can be divided up in a military divorce.

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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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