20 Aug Child Support, Spousal Support and the Leave & Earnings Statement
In Texas, both child support and spousal support awards may not exceed 60% of a military member’s pay and allowances. The normal Texas child support guidelines, worksheets and schedules are used to determine the proper amount of child support to be paid, but because military paychecks are unlike any other paychecks, it can be challenging to determine what a servicemember’s actual pay is. Start with the servicemember’s base salary. There is also a housing allowance, calculated using location, family commitments, and the servicemember’s pay grade. There are also pay differentials for hazardous assignments and other variations in responsibilities. It is also typical for the servicemember to receive “in-kind” compensation in the form of housing, meals, and other non-monetary compensation.
In trying to determine the military parent’s income, it is best not to use a tax return, because some of the income that servicemembers receive is tax-free, and you will be calculating with an amount that is too low. Instead, use the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), which is similar to a pay stub but more comprehensive. The LES will show you the military parent’s basic pay, housing and other allowances, as well as information about how many dependents the servicemember is claiming and how much accrued leave is available. The IRS does not tax military housing and food allowances, but in most states, child support guidelines include all income, whether it is taxable or not.