Receiving a BAH After Getting Divorced

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Receiving a BAH After Getting Divorced

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BHA) is a monthly allowance that applies to members in the military. BHA offsets the cost of housing when members live off-base; not in a government-provided home. If you are getting a divorce, you can still receive BAH in most cases. However, a divorce may impact the amount of BAH you receive, and in some instances, may terminate your BAH altogether.

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Learn the BAH Basics

BAH is a monthly benefit provided by the government that helps military members and their families help offset the cost of living off-base. It does not cover the entire cost of housing, but it typically covers about 80 percent. Members living on the base do not qualify for a BAH because their housing is free.

The government determines BAH rates based on several factors, including where you live, your pay grade, and whether you have dependents. If you live in an expensive city, your BAH will be much greater than a person living in a more affordable city. If you claim any dependents or pay child support, you generally receive BAH "with dependents." This type of BAH is the same regardless of the number of dependents. BAH rates are published by the Defense Travel Management Office.

How Divorce Impacts BAH

A divorce can impact your BAH in a number of ways. If both you and your spouse are in the military and have children together, only one of you can receive BAH "with dependents" authorization. This means that you and your spouse cannot claim the same dependent children for this rate. The parent that provides more than 51 percent of child support will be the one who receives the BAH-with designation.

If you are the only parent in the military and get a divorce, you can generally still continue to get BAH, but it depends on where you live post-divorce. In some cases, once your divorce is finalized and you are considered single, you may be forced to move back to the base. In this case, you are no longer eligible to receive a BAH because the government pays 100 percent of your housing.

If you continue to live off-base, you can still receive BAH but the amount you receive may change depending on whether you are paying child support. Your child support payments must be at least as much as your BAH-with payments to continue qualifying for those rates. If it is not, you may receive a different BAH—"BAH-differential"—which is typically lower than BAH-with.

Impacts on Child Support Payments

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not tax BAH as income, but most states can include BAH payments as income for purposes of calculating child support. The higher your income is, the more you generally pay in child support.

Getting divorced when you or your spouse are in the military has its own set of unique concerns. If you would like more assistance, consider enlisting the help of a professional.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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