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NJ Family Legal Blog Pertinent Information As It Relates To New Jersey Family Laws

VETERAN’S DISABILITY PENSION AND SOCIAL SECURITY DEEMED INCOME FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING ALIMONY

Posted in Alimony, Modification

In an unreported (non-precedential) decision in the case of Brown v. Brown  released on May 25, 2010, the Appellate Division determined that veterans disability benefits and social security benefits are income for purposes of determining alimony.  In this appeal of an Order that granted some alimony reduction but not as much as the former husband sought, the facts are not particularly interesting.  That said, what was interesting was that the reduction was not as much sought (and in actuality, the ex-husband sought an elimination of alimony, because the court considered the veteran’s disability pension and Social Security over his objection.  In fact, he tried to argue that the spendthrift provisions (provisions that prevent creditors from attacking certain assets/benefits) in the relevant federal laws prevent such consideration but the Court noted that a spouse seeking support was not a creditor within the meaning of the law.

The matter was, however, remanded because the trial court did not analyze the statutory factors when reducing the support.  As noted in my blog last week about the Walsh case, when dealing with a motion to modify alimony, once the Court determines ta ht there is a change of circumstances, they have to look at the needs of both parties.  In fact, if the Court makes an initial finding of a change of circumstances, the court must analyze how much the alimony should be in a modification application the same way it would in an initial alimony application.   

  • Jack Hurley

    How does this happen with title 38 in effect ? VA disability compensation should not be included in
    the calculation for alimony.

  • Simon alvarado

    VA pensions are subject to attachment while VA disability is not. Consider the criteria for pension, not service connected and payable to veterans with illness or injury with no other source of support. This sounds like SSI which is considered welfare by all states and not subject to child support or alimony. VA compensation is not taxable and not remunerated as income as per Social Security.