All states, including Florida, have laws or rules to establish child support guidelines. In order to ensure that the support amount is justified and serves the best interests of the child, child support agencies need complete information about parents’ income.
State agencies usually use a simple method, using both taxable and nontaxable income, to calculate the income of civilians. However, determining a military member’s income can be a little complicated. For service members, most states include base pay, special skills pay, bonuses and allowances such as basic housing allowance and basic subsistence.
The Department of Defense provides a quarterly wage report of military members to the National Directory of New Hires. This report, published by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, includes a comprehensive detail of a service member’s income. And, this information is also included on the member’s Leave and Earning Statement. Military members may need to provide the copy of LES to child support agencies, if required.
The LES includes a lot of critical information required to determine child support. It mainly includes all pay the member receives, all allowances and entitlements the member earns, member’s leave balances and member’s declared state of domicile. Furthermore, the hazardous duty and special skills pay may not be awarded to the member for the entire service period. So, if it is included in more than one LES, it should not be assumed that the member received it for the whole year.
In order to ensure that the child support amount is fair and just, courts expect service members to provide the vital information regarding the start and end dates of such pays. Also, it is important for service members to clear all doubts pertaining to the bonuses, if received any, with the court, since they are generally not included in the earnings for the active pay period.