One reason military divorces can be more complicated and contentious than civilian divorces is the difficulty parties often have when dividing property, including military benefits. These benefits can be quite valuable, and divorcing can jeopardize one or both parties’ eligibility to receive them.
For instance, if you are a civilian divorcing a servicemember, you should know how that will affect your eligibility for a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH.)
BAH and divorce
The BAH allowance is money paid to servicemembers to partially cover the cost of housing and utilities when they are not living in government facilities. The amount varies widely, but In some cases, this money can cover as much as 80 percent of the servicemember’s housing expenses.
If you are a civilian divorcing a servicemember, you typically will not continue to receive a BAH allowance once you are no longer married.
If you are a servicemember divorcing a servicemember, you both can continue receiving this allowance as individuals.
However, it is crucial to note that there are different types of BAH, and the type you or your ex receives will depend largely on your parenting status.
Types of BAH
BAH is to support servicemembers and their dependents, which means that a divorce and parenting status will undoubtedly affect the type of allowance a person may receive.
- BAH-With: This allowance is for servicemembers with dependents. After divorce, a servicemember can continue to receive this rate if they have children.
- BAH-Without: This allowance is for servicemembers without dependants. After divorce, this is the rate a servicemember would likely receive if they don’t have children.
- BAH-Differential or BAH-DIFF: Even if a servicemember lives in government quarters, they can be eligible for BAH-DIFF if they have children and pay child support. This ensures the servicemember contributes to the financial housing costs of their dependents.
It is worth noting that even if you as a civilian do not receive BAH, it can still impact you in terms of calculating any child support you might receive from your military ex who does receive these benefits.
Protecting yourself after a military divorce
Whether you are in the military or married to someone who is, a lot can change if you divorce. Knowing what you may be entitled to and how to protect yourself and your family going forward can be vital.