EFFECT OF MILITARY BENEFITS WHEN CALCULATING ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT

Military members typically receive many benefits for their service to our country. These benefits may be counted as income when calculating child support in Arizona. For instance, a military member may receive money for a housing allowance or the military member may receive free housing rather than a housing allowance.

In the Arizona Court of Appeals case of Patterson v. Patterson, the Court ruled that the value of military-provided on-base housing might be included in a parent’s income for child support calculations, based on the court’s determination as to whether the value of that benefit is significant and reduces the parent’s living expenses.

The court’s opinion relied on the language in the Arizona Child Support Guidelines which states that “income from any source” is includable as gross income. These guidelines also require the cash value of “other non-cash benefits” be counted as gross income if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses.


In addition to receiving housing benefits, military members may also receive contributions to their retirement plans as well as contributions to health insurance premiums. A fair value for these benefits may be added to the military member’s pay when calculating child support.

In the Arizona Appeals Court case of Hetherington v. Hetherington, the Court found that an employer’s contributions to an employee’s retirement plan and to other benefits such as health insurance premiums must be considered in determining a party’s income for purposes of computing child support.

These are just some of the military benefits that a Court may consider when determining the gross income of a military member for the purpose of calculating child support. If you are calculating support and one spouse or the other is in the military, contact competent legal counsel to assist you in determining what is included, and perhaps just as importantly, what is not included.