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.
Image Courtesy of imagerymajestic/ http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/