G.I. Bill, Contribution to Education, & Divorce
Updated: Jul 20
Divorces that involve a military spouse presents a special set of issues that are unique to this population. One example is when the military spouse uses his or her G.I. Bill to fund the education of the other spouse and the other spouse is requesting a portion of the military spouse’s pension or retirement.
In this scenario, the military spouse may want to argue that because his or her spouse utilized the G.I. Bill, that spouse should not be entitled to the full distribution as required under the law. In setting forth this argument, an attorney may want to consider the following:
Whether the military spouse contributed to the household by working full time job while his or her spouse was enrolled in an educational program.
Whether the educational program was partially or fully funded though the GI Bill and the military spouse’s income through his or her employment.
Whether the military spouse became the major, if not the sole, means of support and paying the bulk of the household and child expenses (if the parties have children).
Whether the military spouse has, and continued to take care of all of the household and child expenses while his or her spouse was enrolled in the educational program, after graduation, and during the remainder of the marriage.
Whether the military spouse would have used the G.I. Bill to fund his or her own education but did not do so and as a result has lost education and career opportunities that he or she would have had otherwise.
Whether there is any student debt accumulated during the marriage by the other spouse and whether that debt is considered marital debt.
Whether use of the G.I. Bill to earn a degree or certificate provides an enhancement to earning capacity that the spouse ordinarily would not have had were it not for the use of the G.I. Bill and whether this enhancement was earned during the marriage.
The type of degree obtained, the cost to the military spouse, the present income of the parties, the property owned by the parties at the time of divorce, and the possibility of bankruptcy on either side.
Whether the degree was earned during the marriage is important and if there were multiple degrees and/or certifications earned.
The financial impact of the degree or the training received from the G.I. Bill by using statistical evidence regarding the average earning and average life expectancy in general and in that occupation.
As you can see, there are several factors to consider when arguing a reduction in an award of a military pension or retirement account. For any questions related to your specific case and for an evaluation of your circumstances, schedule a consultation with our office and let's get started.