VA disability compensation provides tax-free payments to veterans who suffered injuries or illnesses while in service to the United States. Whether you are a current or former uniformed service member, or the ex-spouse of a military member, you have likely come to rely on VA disability assistance for your family’s financial stability. So, when you face the unknown future of life following a divorce, it is natural to be concerned over the fate of such a vital asset.
Just as with any civilian marriage, you and your ex-spouse will have to go through arrangements for property and asset division. Whether this occurs through out-of-court negotiations or in divorce court will depend on the circumstances surrounding your pending divorce. Do you and your ex-spouse get along? You may want to consider mediation as an alternative dispute resolution and avoid divorce court altogether.
That said, even in a divorce court case—in which your Virginia judge will determine what is equitable or fair in the distribution of assets—it is not legal for VA disability payments to go through marital asset division. Federal law protects disability payments so that they remain distributed solely to the uniformed service member who suffered the disability.
Whether other assets divide between spouses may depend on state laws and the details of the benefit itself. Some spouses may receive military retired pay, for example. While VA disability payments are protected by federal law, how you approach your divorce may greatly affect the future of your other assets.