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Can My Son’s Husband Not Pay Child Support Because My Son Is Receiving Chapter 35 Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q:

My son is 19 and is entitled to Ch 35 under his father. Also for the state of NY he is also still entitled to child support until he turns 21; however, the father is claiming that since he is receiving the full-time amount of VA, he shouldn’t receive the child support. I say that the VA benefit is for school specifically especially when the benefits payout 30-45 days after school starts and in order to attend classes, tuition has to be paid up front. Therefore we usually take a supplemental loan to pay up front and then use the VA benefit to pay back the loan. Is the VA benefit supposed to be used as income to pay for food, shelter and misc. expenses that my son has in order to make it through the school year?

A: Well first of all, it is not for your son’s father to determine whether he should be paying child support or not. That should have been decided in court and he should be honoring the court’s decision. If he was ordered to pay child support (and he is not), then if I were you, I would be petitioning the court to make him pay it. If he has not been directed by a court to pay child support, then take him to court and get that mandated.

If your son’s father is still serving, the military takes a dim view of father’s not supporting their children and you could have his military wages garnished so the child support automatically comes out each month. If he is no longer in the military, then it is more difficult to hold him accountable although it is still possible (verses jail time).

Chapter 35 is not a lucrative GI Bill by any means, so even though your son is getting Chapter 35 benefits, he isn’t making enough to get by on GI Bill Chapter 35 payment. If I were you, I would go after his father and hold him accountable – paying child support should be the least he can do for his son.

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