When you or a family member is involved in the military, things are different. Typically your family has endured some hardship such as prolonged time away from loved ones or moving from base to base with short-term notice. However, there are perks to being involved in the military. One of those perks is financial and benefit incentives. However, calculating or dividing these financial aspects can be difficult when going through a divorce.
This is especially true for military members who receive a military allowance. What is military allowance? Military allowance is essentially military pay or benefits that are non-taxable and are included as part of military salary or bonuses. They can be administered for things like housing or hazard pay. The most common military allowances are Basic Allowance for Subsistence and Basic Allowance for Housing.
A majority of the military members receive both of these allowances and, often, these allowances comprise a large portion of the member’s total pay. One more relevant to divorce proceedings is BAH. This is an allowance allotted to pay for the cost of housing when a military member or their family does not reside in government-provided housing. The amount of BAH depends upon your location, pay grade, and whether you have dependents.
This is an asset that military families need to take into consideration when dividing marital property. The military member will likely continue to receive BAH despite the divorce so it is important that one spouse is not shorted for this unusual payment method by the armed forces. It is an asset and should be considered as such during property division.
Source: militarypay.defense.gov, “Allowances,” Accessed April 6, 2015