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Military Pay and Child Support

A close up picture of a US military soldier

A military paystub, or Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), can be difficult to read and understand — especially when trying to determine your child support obligation. The different classifications of income raise questions about which pay sources are considered when calculating assets in a divorce case.

What is Included in a Leave and Earnings Statement?

Generally, the entries on an LES can be divided into two categories: Pay and allowance. Amounts classified as pay, such as base pay, sea pay, hazard pay, etc., are usually taxable. Conversely, allowances such as the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), etc., are non-taxable.

Calculating Child Support Based on Military Pay

One of the most common questions concerning military pay and child support is whether allowances can be considered income for the purposes of calculating child support. The confusion stems from the fact that the federal government enacted a statute that prevents such allowances from being garnished but does not prohibit the allowances from being classified as income.

In a 2010 California case called Marriage of Stanton, the court specifically held that allowances such as BAH and BAS are classified as income for the purpose of calculating child support. The decision set a precedent for the full earnings of military members — taxable or otherwise — to be considered when calculating child support.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Case

The attorneys at Chung & Ignacio, LLP represent a large number of military members and their spouses and are well-versed in all aspects of military divorces. In addition, our firm is appointed to represent all active-duty military members in cases enforced by the Department of Child Support Services.

If you are interested in speaking with our legal team, complete our contact form or call (909) 726-7112 to schedule a free consultation with our lawyers.