This month we’ve been talking about veterans’ disability benefits and spousal support: an issue that has been a confusing matter for state courts and an emotional matter for many injured veterans going through divorce.


Let’s look at two stories of two different veterans who fought the system to keep their full VA disability benefits despite divorce:


  • Alan Cote. When this veteran sought a divorce from his wife Carol Cote, the divorce court included his Social Security disability and veterans’ disability payments while calculating the alimony he should pay to his ex-spouse. Cote did not pay his full spousal support as ordered by the court and his checks were garnished. He argued that the garnishment went against the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (FCCPA) and that his veterans’ disability should not have been included in the calculations – and won in his state Supreme Court hearing.
  • Peter James Barclay. This former member of the Air Force began receiving veterans’ disability benefits after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the Oklahoma City bombing. When he and his wife decided to divorce after twenty years of marriage, he decided to fight when she asked for part of his VA disability payments in the divorce settlement. Barclay will need four Supreme Court judges to agree to hear the case before the federal government will act.


Do you have a legal issue relating to your Texas veterans’ disability benefits, or do you need assistance securing such benefits? Speak with a Houston disability attorney today at Morgan & Weisbrod to learn more about your case.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law
Let us look at this "realistically" . These Veterans suffer from injuries. More often than not, this is the reason the spouse leaves them. The VA doesn't offer benefits to "Ex-spouses", there is no legal way to enforce a legal obligation established from Veterans benefits, and courts have no legal authority provided to them to assign VA injury benefits as "income" for any calculation. The law says "Shall not be assignable.. Shall not be subject to.... in any legal or equitable process"... The LAW makes no exceptions. Courts need to stop this now. IF 5301 read "shall not be subject to... in any legal or equitable process except in cases involving child/spousal support" then it would be different. but "ALL" is a strong word that is constantly ignored. STEP UP PEOPLE. Stop Abusing our Veterans like this. They served to protect, now we as citizens need to protect them. No, I am not saying they should not have to pay spousal / child support. I am saying they receive other benefits that are either through employment, or in place of employment (ie: social security benefits, etc). If a court cannot enforce an order, they should not even try to make one. End of story.
by Nicole May 30, 2012 at 06:14 PM
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