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Ask Lawrence D. Gorin Your Own Question
Lawrence D. Gorin
Lawrence D. Gorin, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 1544
Experience:  Military & Family Law. 30+ years experience. USFSPA pension division expertise.
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I receive 100% VA Disability for service connected issues.

Resolved Question:

I receive 100% VA Disability for service connected issues. A soon to be x spouse, her choice for divorce not mine, is she entitled to any of pure disability money. I only served for 4 1/2 years. Honorable Medical discharge.
I also receive Social Security Benefits monthly and my three daughters receive close to $1,000.00 every month, from it till they time out at 18 yrs old or college ends.
I worked at the United States Post Office for 10 yrs till I went out on disability.

Does she have the ability to gain any money from my three Federal Disabilities as Alimony, Spousal support, and or can any of this be touched or ordered by a judge to pay her. I have no issues what so ever, with taken care of my girls. Please advise, thanks
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 5 years ago.
State divorce courts do not have authority to treat federal disability benefits as marital property subject to division incident to dissolution of marriage. However, your receipt of disability benefits can be "considered" in determining your financial ability to pay spousal support and/or child support.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Spouse is a Federal worker, at the VA no-less, thanks to hubby's 10 combat disabled veteran points. Her income, including what Social Security gives to her and my daughters for being my Dependants, is probably around $1,000.00 different per month. So I Make a 1,000.00 more off all of my Federal disabilities than what she makes which includes monthly amount from Social Security for my disability. Again she wanted the Divorce, is she entitled to any spousal support or alimony?
I have no problems taken care of my daughters, who are 9, 11, & 17 yr old. She doesn't deserve anything because she broke family up where there where no issues. No drinking, no cheating, no spousal abuse(mental or physical). I believe she let slip she did not want to take care of 40 year old falling apart man physically. That is the reason. 2008 bad year in hospital over 6 times. thank you
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 5 years ago.
Further Answer:
As a general rule, in almost every state in the nation nowadays, there is no "entitlement" to spousal support. Rather, it is a discretionary decision to be made by a judge (if the issue cannot be resolved and settlement by the parties themselves). And the question is usually resolved on the basis of economic need.

Also, the fact that wife is the one who wants the divorce, and the fact that she is "at fault" for breaking up the family, is generally of no consequence. (That's the result of "no-fault" divorce.)

Most state divorce laws contain a list of factors that are supposed to be considered when resolving the issue of spousal support. Typical is Oregon's statute, which says:
----> The factors to be considered by the court in awarding spousal maintenance include but are not limited to:
  • (i) The duration of the marriage;
  • (ii) The age of the parties;
  • (iii) The health of the parties, including their physical, mental and emotional condition;
  • (iv) The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • (v) The relative income and earning capacity of the parties, recognizing that the wage earner’s continuing income may be a basis for support distinct from the income that the supported spouse may receive from the distribution of marital property;
  • (vi) A party’s training and employment skills;
  • (vii) A party’s work experience;
  • (viii) The financial needs and resources of each party;
  • (ix) The tax consequences to each party;
  • (x) A party’s custodial and child support responsibilities; and
  • (xi) Any other factors the court deems just and equitable.
So the question as to how much spousal support -- if any -- is appropriate in your particular case cannot be answered without a full in-depth analysis of your particular facts and circumstances. Such individual case analysis is beyond the scope of what we can do in this forum. You would be well-advised to confer with a family law lawyer in your particular state.

By the way, as to child support, the rule in most states nowadays is that if your children receive a Social Security "child's benefit" as a result of your own entitlement to Soc. Sec. disability (or retirement) benefits, the otherwise court-ordered amount of child support will be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis. In many cases, if the children's Social Security benefit exceeds the otherwise court-ordered child support amount, you would have no additional child support obligation.

I wish you well and hope that I have provided answers to your questions that you find to be acceptable (even though, perhaps, not totally agreeable).

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