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How Does Military Service Affect Child Support?

All parents have a duty to support their children. That duty, of course, extends to members of the military. It is a common myth that the Service Members Civil Relief Act shields service members from having to pay child support. However, calculating a military member’s child support is a bit different than for a civilian parent. The court considers a service member’s basic pay plus whatever “allowances” they are entitled to as income. Both will impact the amount of support the service member is ordered to pay.

A service member’s basic pay is based upon military officer rank or enlisted grade. Their years of service also affects their pay. Their pay might also include a housing allowance (known as Basic Allowance for Housing or BAH). It’s possible they might get a food allowance (Basic Allowance for Subsistence or BAS). They could receive special skill pay (such as flight pay for pilots or sea pay for sailors). Their pay might also include bonuses. Not all service members receive BAH, BAS or special skills pay, however. For example, service members do not receive BAH if they are live in government housing.


Parents receiving child support from a military member should remember that certain allowances are tax-free income. Be sure to account for that when calculating child support. Furthermore, a service member should know that their specific branch of service will dictate what they should be paying if no child support is otherwise ordered.

Held Law Firm is recognized by the United States Department of Defense as a patriotic employer. We have an established record of hiring attorneys and staff who have served. This gives us an advantage over other firms because we know from experience how to navigate these cases. If you need an attorney who is aware of the unique issues that service members, veterans and their families face, call Held Law Firm today at (865) 685-4780.

The information in this blog is accurate as of the time of publication, but laws often change. That’s why it’s important to hire an attorney who keeps up with these changes. Contact us today.