The United States military provides plenty of living assistance for its members and their families. Whether your family lives on the base or off it, you are probably receiving some help from the government for your rent and expenses. When your family goes through a big change like a divorce, you may be curious how that assistance might change as well.

There are two main factor that determines who gets the housing assistance:

  • Who will have custody of the children (if there are any)
  • Whether just one or both spouses are service members

Your role in the family and in the military could determine your living situation after the divorce.

One service member

If only one spouse is in the military, they are the one who will keep any housing assistance the family has been receiving. This may be in the form of on-base housing or a Base Allowance for Housing (BAH) to help pay rent and utilities. The non-military spouse does not receive any assistance after the divorce.

The service member cannot live in family housing alone, so unless they retain custody of the children, everyone will have to vacate the house within 30 days.

Two service members

After the divorce, both spouses retain their housing assistance. The amount can change depending on their rank, location and whether they have custody of their children.

There are two levels of BAH, with a higher amount going to service members with children than those without.

  • If two divorcing service members have joint custody, they will receive the higher amount for the time that they have their children.
  • If one spouse does not have custody at all, they will receive the lower amount.
  • If the couple has no children, both will continue to receive the lower amount.

Divorce can already be a complicated transition, and factoring in the military can make it even harder. Understanding how your divorce will affect you and your family can help prepare you for the changes you’re facing.