In a Massachusetts Military Divorce, a LES is More

| Mar 22, 2017 | Military Divorce |

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A LES (Leave and Earnings Statement) is the service member’s pay stub. Service members receive a LES twice monthly; on the 15th of the month and the last day of the month. On the 15th of the month, the LES has no detail just the amount paid. On the last day of the month the LES will have a detailed breakdown.

A LES is a military pay stub that shows not only earning and deductions but also lists any incentive or special pay, such as combat pay, aviation career incentive pay, or variable special pay for medical/dental officers as well as nontaxable benefits, such as basic allowance for subsistence (BAS) and basic allowance for housing (BAH) and clothing allowance.

The LES is a shorthand profile of service member’s military benefits that must be considered in a Massachusetts divorce. For example, the servicemember paying child support may receive the BAH at the “with dependents” rate regardless of whether or not his or her children reside with that servicemember. BAS and BAH are cash benefits that should be included in a financial affidavit for purposes of calculating child support and or alimony.

For purposes of calculating child support and alimony, Massachusetts courts use a very broad definition of “gross income,” therefore, every dollar the servicemember receives reflected on the LES, including the non-taxable allowances are taken into consideration.

Moreover, Massachusetts family law courts also impute income to a servicemember who receives lodging or food in lieu of BAH or BAS. 

At one time, military personnel received paper LES documents, but now the servicemember almost always retrieves his or her LES from an online system called MyPay from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), an agency of the United States Department of Defense.  

Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact an experienced military family lawyer to better understand military pay.

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