What happens to child support when a military spouse gets no allowances?

Sometimes a former spouse pleads poverty in response to a plea for child support. He may claim that he doesn’t get any allowances, that all he gets is basic pay and cannot afford child support, that he eats in the mess hall and lives in base housing. These are factually true statements that do not tell the whole truth.

All service members receive some kind of compensation for living expenses. They either get basic pay and a housing allowance and a food allowance, or they live on base and eat for free. If they live on base and use the mess hall, they’re receiving things instead of money to buy those things. Therefore, since spouse is receiving “in-kind compensation,” a greater proportion of his basic pay is available for child support. Thus, he cannot get out of paying child support just because he is a low-ranking enlisted man in the Army.