In negotiating a divorce settlement, if either spouse is a U.S. Armed Forces service member, and he or she receives benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, keep in mind that these may be transferable to all eligible close family members.
Under The Post-9/11 GI Bill (38 U.S. Code § 3020), a service member can receive up to 36 months of educational benefits, which can be used for up to 15 years after the member has been discharged from active duty. And if this individual meets specific requirements, the benefit can be easily transferred to family members.
Sometimes, when a family in this situation is going through a divorce, the benefits from the bill are significant assets that can be used to help facilitate a settlement. And it makes a lot of sense because if the service member does not use the GI Bill benefits within a certain period of time, many of those benefits will be lost in any case.
The educational benefits from the bill can be used to pay for college for children who are expected to receive a higher education, or for the service member’s spouse if he or she plans to further their education.
These benefits can be used to help settle not only the divorce but also a spouse’s alimony claim. If a spouse is seeking alimony as part of the final settlement agreement, the service member can agree to transfer his or her GI Bill benefits in exchange for a full or partial waiver of alimony.
Just keep in mind that any transfer of this nature must be made prior to the final judgment of divorce if it is being made to one’s spouse.
For more information, please contact Murphy & Cistaro at (973) 813-8100 to schedule a free consultation.
Murphy & Cistaro Attorneys at Law
27 East Main Street
Mendham, NJ 07945