Spousal support question headed to Supreme Court

Can veterans’ benefits received as a result of an injury be considered as income in spousal support claims? This question is at the heart of a case going before the United States Supreme Court. The case was filed by a veteran who suffered on-the-job injuries while participating in the cleanup efforts for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He receives financial compensation as a result of this injury.

When the veteran and his wife finalized their divorce proceedings, he was ordered to provide monthly payments of $1,000 in alimony to his ex-wife from his veterans’ benefits, as well as some from Social Security. But he does not believe that his veterans’ payments should extend to spousal support.

He argues that the way the veterans’ benefits system is constructed, it already includes payments for a spouse that are lost if a divorce is finalized. This, he states, is evidence that the system was not constructed with the intention of providing money to spouses. However, as is evidenced by the order for spousal support in his case, some judges think there is reason for veterans’ compensation to be counted as income.

Regardless of which side you believe should win the case, the fact that the issue remains open for ruling shows that spousal support cases can be controversial. Methods to determine the appropriate levels of spousal support are often contentious, and can include factors such as both spouses’ earning potential, quality of life and the welfare of a copule’s children, should that be an issue. In cases where spousal support will be an issue, it is advisable that those involved seek experienced legal assistance in order to better sort through the complicated process.

Source: Digital Journal, “Veteran files case involving spousal support to US Supreme Court,” Nicole Byerly, May 15, 2012

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Spousal support question headed to Supreme Court