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How Does a San Diego Judge Determine Income for Members of the Military in San Diego Divorce, Paternity and Legal Separation Court: 2019

In San Diego, when a member of the Armed Forces {whether Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy of other Branch} is in a paternity, legal separation or divorce in family law court, the issue of income is involved and an attorney can advise you whether to agree to an amount or not for spousal and/or child support. Whether this parent’s have children and the issue is child support or whether the parents do not have children [or have children] there is the issue of alimony which is often called spousal support. For many litigants in family law court, the income of the spouse or parent is easily determined by the year to date on the pay stub of a W-2 employee, for example, and if the only employment then the only income. This can become more complex if one of the spouses owns a business. For support all income is included and this can also become complicated if there is income outside employment or second job or other factors. Doppelt and Forney, APLC has represented many military members and non military members whose spouses are in the Armed Forces.

The first analysis is how to analyze the LES. The Leave and Earnings Statement is the military pay stub. This can be more complicated than a W-2 employee for many reasons. First, some income is taxable and some income is non taxable. As the San Diego Family Law Judges use the disso master for calculation of child support, there are different categories for each in the program. This can make a big difference since the program, which is authorized by California State Law, calculates from input of the gross income but uses the net income for the amount to be determined. Child support is calculated using this program whether you are pre judgment or post judgment. Spousal support is calculated using this program for pre judgment but not used for post judgment. Some of the taxable pay includes the base pay of the service member and, in the past, has included hazardous duty incentive pay, aviation career incentive pay and various special pay for dental/medical officers among others. Always check your LES as the pay may change as well as the other special pay. Some of the non taxable pay includes the basic allowance for subsistence, also known as BAS, and basic allowance for housing which is also known as BAH. BAS is a fixed amount for expenses for food. BAH is not a fixed amount and varies depending on factor such as whether the service member is married and has dependents and the location of their active duty posting.

The second analysis is any other financial information under the disso master program guidelines. Other information which the Judge will consider are, but are not limited to:

  • Are there any hardship deductions? Normally, this would be a parent who is supporting a child of another relationship. This is discretionary with the Judge.
  • Is property owned? If so, then the interest on the mortgage and the property tax is used.
  • Is child support being paid or received from another relationship?
  • Is spousal support being paid or received from another relationship?
  • For child support, how many minor children? In San Diego, the child support terminates at age 18 and graduates high school or 19 if not special needs.
  • What are the parties tax filing status?
  • Does either party have taxable income outside of their employment or second employment?
  • Does either party have non taxable income outside of their employment such as interest on an inheritance.

A free in-person or virtual consultation up to 30 minutes as the law office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can be very informative. Their office has the disso master program and can calculate both child and spousal support at the consultation at no charge to you. Please bring in the most recent copy of your LES and also income information for the other party for the most informed calculation. You can call 800-769-4748 to schedule. Their office is conveniently located off Highway I-15 and has easy on/off freeway access and free parking.

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