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jb156200, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 391
Experience:  I am a licensed practicing attorney in Tampa, Florida.
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Can the state of use my VA disability compensation as income

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Can the state of Washington use my VA disability compensation as income even if I'm 100% disabled and service connected through combat?
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Washington state
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Yes but my divorce has been finalized and the commissioner granted more money in child support and spousal support that I take home from my job. I don't believe he was being fair or impartial.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: He also awarded her GI bill benefits and I was wondering if that was even able to happen? Now that she is an ex and dropped from the DEERS system, she technically doesn't exist to the government.

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I hope I may be of assistance with your questions. Military disability is governed by Federal law; however, a divorce is governed by Washington law. The court may be able to consider your military disability pay as income and that may affect child support or spousal maintenance. Regardless of the nature of injury, or how it occurred, your disability may affect the pension payments received by both parties.

The monthly dollar amount payable to the civilian spouse under a Washington settlement agreement or court order that orders a percentage of monthly disposable retired pay to go to that spouse could be later reduced if the military spouse with a disability rating of less than 50 percent elects to waive part of the retirement to get disability.

Consider this fictional example:

  • The divorce order awards the nonmilitary spouse 50 percent of a $1,000 monthly disposable retired pay benefit, or $500 monthly.
  • The military spouse later develops a service-connected disability rated at less than 50 percent and elects to waive part of retirement benefits to get disability pay instead (usually because it is not taxable).
  • The new retired pay amount is reduced to $600 because of the waiver, so the civilian spouse's share becomes $300.
  • Since disability benefits are the military spouse's separate property, the recipient spouse would be out the difference.
Customer: replied 27 days ago.
what I've read online, I shouldn't be paying more than 50% of my gross income and even if the court has considered my VA comp as income, they awarded her more than that. I'm not receiving military retirement just VA comp and it offsets the amount of money I lose at my job for time lost because of all my doctors appointments

If you are being charged more than 50% of your gross income, your attorney should file a Motion for Modification of Child Support and Alimony. Your attorney would then present the judge the evidence of the exact amount of your monthly income.

Customer: replied 27 days ago.
What if I don't have an attorney? Should I get one or can I do myself and would you advise against that? calculating your monthly income the Washington State family court will look at both your income from your job and also your disability income, combined.

If you don't have an attorney you may petition the court yourself; however, because of the complexities of calculating income it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney.

Customer: replied 27 days ago.
Can the court award her a benefit usually only allowed for a married spouse such as the GI bill? I've dropped her from the Department of eligibility and enrollment services and now the order stated that I have to give her two years of GI bill assistance

Do you remember if during the divorce proceedings whether you were asked to waive or transfer the GI benefit to your ex-spouse? GI Bill benefits are not allowed to be part of the equitable division of assets; however, the court may award the benefit to the ex-spouse instead of rehabilitative alimony.

Customer: replied 27 days ago.
I wasn't able to attend my hearing and the court order just states that in to give her two years of the GI bill but it wasn't in lieu of spousal support which was granted at $2500 a month for 4 years plus $2260 in child support for two children.
I make $28 an hour and get paid every two weeks, so an average gross for me would be $2240 gross plus I receive $3583 in VA comp. those two totals equal $5823 and the court has ordered $ 4760? How is that even possible?

Unfortunately since you did not attend the final hearing or have an attorney present on your behalf, there really is no way of knowing how the judge came up with the numbers. Based on on the math you have provided me, you very well may have a valid argument for modification of the final divorce decree.

Customer: replied 27 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** I need to hire an attorney

No problem. It is in your best interest to hire an attorney. Just because the divorce is final that does not mean the terms cannot be modified.

Please let me know if you have any other questions and please remember to rate my answer so that I may receive credit. Thank you!

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