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How a Military Divorce Impacts Basic Allowance for Housing

Military divorces present certain differences from civilian dissolutions of marriage when it comes to certain privileges and asset divisions. Basic Allowance for Housing, also known as BAH, is one of those military divorce particulars. Military personnel receives BAH payments to cover a significant portion of their housing and utility bills, usually 80 percent. BAH may help cover the renter’s insurance.

The military calculates BAH based on:

  • The officer’s pay grade
  • Their posting location
  • Their number of dependents

A member without dependents receives a BAH-Without and one with dependents receives payments at a BAH-With rate.

Eligible dependents for BAH-With are:

  • Civilian spouse
  • Unmarried minor children
  • Incapacitated children of any age
  • Unmarried children of age 21-23 attending college.

BAH-With rates do not apply to family members the officer does not legally have to pay support, or is currently supporting, including former spouse to whom they are paying alimony.

Divorce impacts BAH, especially when a service member previously received it while living with their spouse and children. If they lose the status of having dependents and their hierarchy assigns them to single-type government quarters, they may lose their BAH eligibility.

What Is the BAH-Differential?

If a service member is the custodial parent or must pay child support, it triggers the BAH-differential or BAH-DIFF. If the officer makes child support payments, they are eligible for a house allowance even while living in single-type government quarters. They may not receive the BAH-DIFF if the monthly child support payments are above the BAH-DIFF rate. However, a service member who lives in military housing and pays child support beyond the BAH-DIFF rate may receive a BAH-DIFF allowance.

A service member’s Leave and Earnings Statement shows BAH, although the allowance is not taxable. Thus, neither the officer’s W2 form nor their tax return reflects their BAH.

Can a Former Military Spouse Live on Base after the Divorce?

After a marriage dissolution, a former military spouse is not allowed to live on base anymore because they are no longer a military dependent. Different military branches have specific requirements for the former spouse to leave the base. The Army and the Air Force request that the former spouse departs within 30 days after a judge issues a divorce final ruling. In the Navy, a former spouse has 30 to petition for an extension under certain circumstances.

During the divorce proceedings, a military spouse remains eligible to live with a military member if both parties agree to it and there is no domestic violence problems.

Hire a Military Divorce Attorney to Protect Your Rights

Many factors can affect BAH, and working with an experienced military divorce lawyer can help you understand how your divorce affects your privileges. Given the complexity of military divorce, your attorney can help you navigate the legal processes and advocate for your individual and parental rights.

At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, we make sure to carefully review your case and understand your needs and goals. This helps us determine what course of action is appropriate during your divorce. We can address any questions or concerns you may have at every step of the process.

As part of our representation during your divorce, we can determine whether you will remain eligible for BAH after your divorce and if so, at what rate, especially if you and your spouse share minor children.

If you need a military divorce attorney in Colorado Springs or the Denver Metro Area, call Clawson & Clawson, LLP, today at (719) 602-5888 or use our online form to schedule a consultation!

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