Can a Custodial Parent Collect a Portion of VA Disability & Child Support?

By Wayne Thomas

When a child lives primarily with one parent after divorce, child support orders help ensure that both parents contribute a fair share financially to support the child. To determine a support amount, states can factor in the income of one or both parents. If you were awarded custody of your child in the divorce and expect to receive veteran's disability benefits, the amount you draw from the government could affect the amount of child support that the court will order the other parent to pay.

When a child lives primarily with one parent after divorce, child support orders help ensure that both parents contribute a fair share financially to support the child. To determine a support amount, states can factor in the income of one or both parents. If you were awarded custody of your child in the divorce and expect to receive veteran's disability benefits, the amount you draw from the government could affect the amount of child support that the court will order the other parent to pay.

VA Disability

Veteran's disability benefits are payments made to a former service member as compensation for an injury or disease that occurred while he was in the military. You can request the benefits by filing an application with the U.S. Department of Government Affairs. The agency sets the amount of benefits you can receive based on the severity of your disability. If you have children, this can be a basis for the award of additional benefits.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Benefits Considered Income

If you are deemed eligible for VA benefits and begin receiving payments, these amounts may play a role in the child support portion of your divorce. This is because, unlike public assistance benefits, such as food stamps and welfare checks, most states treat VA benefits as income for the purpose of determining an appropriate amount of child support that the parent without custody, referred to as the noncustodial parent, should pay.

Income Shares States

The majority of states look at the incomes of both parents in calculating support. As the custodial parent, the amount you receive depends largely on the extent of your benefits -- and any other income you receive -- relative to the income earned by your former spouse. For example, when your state follows the "income shares model" for determining support, if you and the other parent have a combined income of $5,000 per month, the corresponding basic child support amount might be $1000 per month. To find each parent’s percentage share of that $1,000 support amount, you divide each parent’s income by the total combined income. If you receive $2,000 per month in disability and that is your only income, because the other parent earns the remaining $3,000 per month, he would be responsible for 60 percent of the child support amount, or $600 per month. By contrast, if your incomes were reversed, the other parent would only be responsible for 40 percent of the amount, or $400 per month. For that reason, the amount of income that you get from your VA benefits can be an important factor in states that calculate support using the income shares model.

Percentage of Income

If you live in a state where only the noncustodial parent's income is taken into consideration, the fact that you receive VA benefits is not as important. In these states, the court arrives at the initial support amount through a flat or variable percentage of the other parent's income, determined by the number of children you have. However, while child support calculations are presumed to be correct, states often allow a judge to make adjustments. If your income is vastly greater than the other parent's, for instance, or if he was given some overnights with the children under the custody order, a court could use its discretion and choose to reduce the amount of support it orders.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Child Support Works

References

Related articles

What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?

Each state's laws determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay after a divorce, and the rates and method of calculation vary between states. These payments are intended to pay for a child's normal expenses, such as housing, food, clothing and education. Though courts frequently use the guidelines to set child support amounts, courts do not have to follow them in cases where they would not be appropriate, such as when a child needs special medical care because of a disability.

Does the Number of Children Affect Child Support?

Child support is intended to provide for your children's basic needs – shelter, food and clothing – when you and your spouse divorce. Almost all states use one of two models, or formulas, to arrive at child support obligations. Your obligation typically increases with the number of children you have.

Who Pays Child Support When You Get Divorced in Arizona?

In Arizona, both parents are required to provide financial support for their children. However, whether or not one parent pays child support depends on the income of each parent as well as how much time each parent spends with the child. If circumstances change, either parent may ask the court to change the child support order.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Can Child Support Use Veterans Disability as Income?

Child support is set by state courts under guidelines established by state laws. Federal benefits, like those ...

Can VA Disability Compensation Be Used to Calculate Child Support or Income?

In addition to child custody, separating couples with children must figure out how to handle child support. While the ...

Reasons to Deviate From California Guidelines for Child Support

Divorce does not relieve either parent of the obligation to financially support their children. In California, state ...

What Is the Maximum Amount of Child Support in Maryland?

A divorce does not end a parent's duty to financially support his children. In Maryland, child support is calculated ...

Browse by category