Military Spouse Divorce, Alimony & Child Support

Military Spouse Divorce, Alimony & Child Support

Accurately determining income and other assets is an important aspect in every divorce case. The income of each spouse is used to determine an equitable division of marital property, as well as the number of potential alimony payments. In South Carolina, child support payments are also calculated based on the incomes of both parents. Like other divorce cases, income plays a large role in military divorces as well. However, an armed service member’s pay is not as straightforward as a typical civilian’s wages. Here’s what you need to know about military spouse divorce alimony and child support. We’ll walk you through how active duty military incomes are calculated when filing for divorce in South Carolina.

Different Kinds Of Military Compensation

When determining the income of an active duty service member, be sure to reference the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), not a tax return. Some types of military compensation are tax-free, meaning they will not be included on a tax return. The LES is a more comprehensive summary of a service member’s compensation. Some of the ways members of the military are paid include:

  • Base salary: This compensation most closely resembles a civilian’s paycheck.
  • Housing allowance: A service member’s basic allowance for housing (BAH) will vary based on location, pay grade, and the number of dependents.
  • Incentive/special pay: Extra pay for special assignments, including hazard and combat pay.
  • Food allowance: A service member may receive a basic allowance for subsistence (BAS) to cover his food costs.
  • In-kind compensation: This is non-monetary compensation, including meals and on-base housing. (Note: In lieu of a BAH, military families can live on base at no cost.)
  • Benefits: Health insurance, retirement, and VA benefits are some benefits that may be available to military service members.

Calculating Military Pay In A South Carolina Divorce

When determining child support payments, all cash benefits are to be included as income. This includes base salary, basic allowance for housing, special pay, basic allowance for subsistence, and any other cash payments provided to the service member. In-kind or nonmonetary compensation is usually not included when determining gross income. An exception is made when a service member lives on base in lieu of a housing allowance. In this case, the BAH he would otherwise receive is added to his gross income.

When assessing marital property and spousal support, everything of value is relevant to a military divorce case in South Carolina. This includes all monetary and nonmonetary compensation. However, there are federal protections in place to preserve certain military benefits in case of divorce. Depending on the length of your marriage and the number of years served in the military, a military spouse may (or may not) be eligible to receive part of a service member’s retirement pay or continued Tricare coverage.

Call A South Carolina Military Divorce Lawyer

Getting divorced requires special consideration for members of the military and their spouses. When hiring an attorney, be sure to select one with experience and knowledge of military divorce issues. The attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC understand the complexity of military divorces and are eager to help you during this difficult time.

Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.