Veteran child support can be a complex matter for many parents to navigate. As a Veteran, understanding your financial responsibilities towards supporting your child can be challenging. Here’s a breakdown of key information related to child support for Veterans:
Child Support Defined
Child support refers to court-ordered payments made by a parent to contribute to their child’s living expenses. A parent is obligated to pay child support only after the court has decided on the matter. These payments may continue until the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. The additional income is intended to assist the child in covering expenses or offset what the state provides. If you prefer, child support can be deducted directly from your VA benefit payments upon request.
Determining Child Support Amount
Traditionally, the monthly child support amount is calculated based on the number of children involved:
- 1 child: 20%
- 2 children: 25%
- 3 children: 30%
- 4 children: 35%
- 5 children: 40%
- 6 or more children: The court will decide
Inclusion of VA Disability Pay
Your VA disability benefits should be factored into your net resources when reporting income for child support. However, if you only have an estimated VA contribution, it’s not necessary to report it until you actually receive it.
Difficulty Paying the Court-Ordered Amount
If you’ve reported a proposed VA support amount and were not awarded that amount, you can request a modification. To do so, you must present substantial evidence indicating that the originally stipulated amount is beyond your financial means. This evidence should demonstrate a change in your circumstances and your inability to pay the required amount. Even if you seek additional time to make the payments, you’ll still need to devise a plan for addressing the previous child support arrears.
Apportionment of Benefits
It’s possible for your spouse to file for apportionment to receive a portion of your Veteran benefits. To qualify for apportionment, the requester must fall into one of these categories:
- Not currently living with the Veteran
- Prove that the Veteran is not fulfilling child support obligations
- Demonstrate a significant need for the benefits
- The Veteran is hospitalized and unable to manage fund transfers
- The Veteran is incarcerated When filing for apportionment, you’ll need to provide the VA with income and housing statements of the Veteran in question, along with the necessary VA form. The following individuals may qualify to receive an apportionment:
- A dependent parent
- A separated spouse
- A child in the custody of the other parent
- Children not currently living with the Veteran The benefit will not be granted if it’s deemed too small, if your child has been legally adopted by another individual, or if your child is no longer in your or your spouse’s care.
Appealing a Child Support Decision
If you believe that the final child support decision is unjust, you can appeal it to the VA within 60 days from the date of the final decision notice sent by the VA. This is done by sending a letter to the board expressing your disagreement with their decision. Seeking legal counsel may be advisable after this step.