Are VA Disability and SSDI Divorce Assets for Alimony in Wisconsin?

By Jimmy Verner

Alimony -- simply called maintenance in Wisconsin -- permits maintenance upon divorce based on a number of factors, including the amount of money the parties earn. If a spouse is not working because he is disabled, and he receives disability payments, the Wisconsin courts consider these payments when deciding whether to award maintenance. The courts take disability payments into account because they are a replacement for earnings.

Setting Maintenance

Post-divorce maintenance has two purposes. The first is to support the spouse who receives maintenance, often while that spouse becomes self-supporting; the second is to ensure that the parties' financial arrangements are fair and equitable. By statute, a Wisconsin court considers a number of factors when awarding maintenance. For example, the court considers the length of marriage, the ages of the spouses, their physical and emotional health and how much property each spouse received in the divorce. In addition, the court takes into account how much money the parties make.

Veteran's Disability

The Department of Veterans Affairs pays disability compensation to persons who become at least 10 percent disabled because of an illness or injury that occurred while on active duty in the military or in training. The disability benefits also cover an existing illness or injury that was made worse while in the service. The percentage of disability plus the number of the veteran's dependents determine how much assistance the veteran receives. VA disability benefits substitute for the money that the recipient could have earned had he not become disabled and are paid tax free.

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Social Security Disability

Social Security disability benefits are funded by the Social Security tax. To be eligible for these benefits, you must have paid into the system through withholding from your paychecks. Unlike VA disability, you are either disabled or not -- there is no percentage of disability. The amount you receive depends on how much, on average, you have paid into the Social Security system over your lifetime. Social Security disability is available to you if you can't work because of a medical condition that is expected to last a year or more, or is likely to result in death. Like VA disability, Social Security disability is designed to substitute for the wages you no longer can earn.

Disability Payments Are Income

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that VA and Social Security disability payments are income for maintenance purposes, because the payments are substitutes for what the person could have earned by working. But, if one spouse receives a substantial amount of property in the divorce, it is possible that a court won't order the disabled spouse to pay maintenance when the amount of his disability payment is small and he requires that money for necessary living expenses.

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Alimony Laws in Tennessee

Alimony is a monetary award paid to the financially weaker spouse after a divorce. Tennessee courts can award one of several types of alimony available, based on a number of factors that generally include duration of marriage, age and mental health of the receiving spouse, and education and potential need for training for the receiving spouse. The type of alimony awarded is based on the spouses' circumstances, and the court may award more than one type of alimony, where appropriate. The law also dictates when alimony can be modified, as well as when the obligation to pay terminates.

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 administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, are not subject to state laws or state court rulings; federal rules govern when and how veterans benefits can be distributed. This means that you must work under federal guidelines when determining whether your ex-spouse's disability payments will be considered as income when establishing and collecting child support.

Wyoming Laws on Alimony

Alimony, or spousal support, is money paid by a party to a former spouse. Wyoming, like all states, has a specific set of laws governing alimony awards. Wyoming, also like all states, allows individuals to obtain a divorce without proving the other party was at fault. Alimony is not intended to punish a paying spouse, but rather to provide fair and necessary assistance to the spouse who needs it. Alimony statutes are gender neutral; both men and women can receive it.

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