Rose v. Rose - 481 U.S. 619 (1987)

U.S. Supreme Court

Rose v. Rose, 481 U.S.  619 (1987)
Rose v. RoseNo. 85-1206
Argued March 4, 1987
Decided May 18, 1987  481 U.S. 619

Appellant, a totally disabled veteran whose main source of income is federal veterans'

benefits, was held in contempt by the state trial court for failure to pay child support, the

amount of which had been fixed by the court after considering appellant's benefits

to be income under a Tennessee statute.  The State Court of Appeals affirmed,

rejecting appellant's contention that the Veterans' Administration (VA) has

exclusive jurisdiction to specify payments of child support from the disability

benefits it provides.  The court determined that Congress intended disability

benefits to support the beneficiary and his dependents, and held that the trial court's

order directing appellant to pay a portion of those benefits as child support

or be held in contempt did not undermine a substantial federal interest.


Read the syllabus & the case here.      



The family court is run by the state you're in.

They follow the law that is in effect in your state. Most states require that a financial

statement be completed for the court to review.

Each state says that "income" must be accurately listed so that the court

understands the financial status of each party.

How "income" is defined may vary from state to state. Most use language like

"total income from all sources" or something similar.

Look for the law in your state by clicking right here.

In most of these on-line references you'll see that the state lists "disability income"

or similar language. The judge wants to know how much your overall, total income is.



The question we're asked on an near daily basis

is "Do I have to pay child support or alimony with my VA disability money?

I'm told that the law protects me from that."

The answer is almost always, "Yes, your VA disability money will be used

by the family court to determine your obligation to pay child support or alimony."

It is viewed as part of your total income and the law allows it to be used in every state.

The court can not garnish the money from the VA. But once you have it in your

checking account, the court can order you to pay the amount they have determined to

be your obligation. If you don't, you may be held in contempt of court and you may go to jail.

Is this fair? I can't answer that. I don't usually try to address whether or

not it's a fair system. I just report to you the reality of what's happening in our

veterans world and this is the reality we face.

If you don't pay, the obligee (the custodial parent or the spouse owed alimony)

may ask VA to apportion your VA disability payment. While this isn't called

garnishment, it works the same way. If you are behind on payments,

VA will determine what they believe you can afford and send it to the obligee.

Once apportionment starts, you will face a steep hill in challenging it to get away from it.

Your only real option is in the family court. You have the right (this varies

state to state) to ask the family court judge to lower your obligation.


Disabled Veterans Divorce

5301

Child Support & Alimony

Apportionment



OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA

VA Benefits for Sleep Apnea

as a service

connection to PTSD
Brett Valette, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist



Do not ever try to hide or disguise income.

Your credibility counts for a lot in a family court. If the judge discovers that you aren't reporting all of your income, including your VA disability income, that won't go well for you.

Don't argue the law with the judge. The family court judge has heard it all.



Garnishment & Apportionment are very serious matters.

Your VA disability payment can't be garnished under most circumstances.

It can be "apportioned".

The dependent who is owed money by the order of a family court is allowed

to seek apportionment through the VA. The dependent must complete the VBA Form 21-0788.



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We recommend that you mail a copy
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TDIU Annual - VA Form 4140
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VA form 21-686c


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Research Your Claim

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SMC

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities