Understanding Military Pay In Colorado Springs Military Divorce and Family Law
It is important to understand income in Colorado Springs military divorce and family law for reasons such as child support and spousal maintenance. Military pay statements (leave and earnings statements) are more complicated than most pay statements and contain a large amount of information. Most servicemembers receive at least three different types of pay:
- Basic Pay
- Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) (If they or their dependents live off post), and
- Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS).
Every military member receives a basic pay, which varies according to rank and years in service. Military pay is a matter of public record and pay scales can be found at the Defense Finance Accounting Service. Members also receive a cost of living adjustment each year. The base pay is taxable, except there are exceptions for those on a military deployment in a combat zone.Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
Military members who do not live on post receive a housing allowance. The amount varies by rank and location and it increases for those with dependents. BAH is tax exempt. It will be seen on the pay statement, however not on a W-2 because it is nontaxable income.Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)
Military members who are not dining on post in the dining facilities receive a food allowance. This is also nontaxable. Therefore, it will also be seen on the pay statement, however not on a W-2.Special Pay & Allowances
Some members receive other pay and allowances. For example if they are airborne (parachutists) and on jump status, they will receive extra pay. Some who perform special duty assignments, like those in the special forces or on submarine duty also receive additional pay. Enlisted members receive a clothing allowance intended to help cover the cost of military uniforms. When an enlisted member first enters military service, he or she receives a set of military clothing, down to military issued underwear. However after that, enlisted soldiers are required to maintain and purchase uniforms. All of the special payments can be seen on the military pay statement.Overseas Military Pay & Allowances
There are a number of additional payments that those serving overseas may receive, such as:
- An overseas cost of living allowance (COLA), which varies depending upon rank, years of service, number of dependents, and location. This is to compensate for a higher overseas cost of living in some areas.
- An overseas housing allowance (OHA), which is the overseas equivalent of BAH.
- A Per Diem allowance, which may compensate for the requirement to stay in lodging and eat at restaurants depending on the type of military assignment .
- Hardship or Hazardous Duty Pay, to compensate for living in a remote area where dependents can not reside or serving in a dangerous area.
- Military Pay During Deployment
The four primary additional types of pay deployed members receive are:
- Hostile Fire Pay, for serving in a combat zone or hazardous duty area.
- Family Separation Allowance to compensate for costs of maintaining separate households.
- Hardship Duty Pay, to compensate for being away from family and living in sometimes difficult conditions.
- Per Diem to compensate for additional daily costs of being away from home station.
For enlisted members, pay earned in a combat zone is tax free. Military officers may receive tax free pay or a portion of their income tax free depending on their rank and years in service.Other Important LES Information
Other important information that can be found on a LES is:
Pay Date. Reflects the Pay Entry Base Date (PEBD). This is the date the member entered active duty for pay purposes. It is helpful in calculating retirement division and determining when the member may receive a longevity increase .
Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) contribution. This is important information that a life insurance policy is available, for potential purposes such as securing child support or spousal maintenance.
State of Residence. This is important for determining residency, though this designation alone does not completely determine residency for purposes of filing court actions. It is an indicator of what the service member considers to be his or her residence as a member’s residence does not change solely by virtue of being stationed by the federal government in a different state.
Thrift Savings Plan Contributions. This shows the existence of this retirement asset.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
How can an attorney help in military divorce and family law matters? A Colorado Springs divorce and family law attorney can guide you through the Colorado military divorce process. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.