The Post-9/11 GI Bill in Colorado Military Dissolution
Military family law is unique because of the interplay between state and federal law. The military offers educational assistance as a benefit of employment in the form of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This a valuable benefit and a flexible one as servicemembers can transfer their benefits to a spouse or children. Benefits are available for up to 36 months of education. It covers the following expenses:
- Tuition & Fees - full in-state costs at a public school, or up to an annual cap at a private school
- Monthly Living Stipend - equivalent to the E-5 rank Basic Allowance for Housing at the with-dependents rate based upon the zip code where the college is located
- Books & Supplies - a specific dollar amount per credit hour
Benefit type and amounts vary according to the student's situation. Military members utilizing these benefits while on active duty are entitled to the tuition payments and book stipend, but not the monthly stipend as they are already receiving housing or a housing allowance. Students attending on-line classes are entitled to the tuition assistance and book stipend, but only one-half of the monthly stipend. Part-time students are entitled to the tuition assistance and book stipend, but only receive a prorated share of the monthly stipend.Eligibility
Active duty servicemembers and veterans who meet the following criteria are eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits:
- Active Duty - Complete 36 months of active duty and remain on active duty
- Veteran - Complete 36 months of active duty and be honorably discharged
- Disabled Veteran - Complete 30 days of active duty, and be discharged for a service-connected disability.
Partial GI Bill benefits are available to active duty servicemembers and veterans with fewer months of service. Members discharged before January 1, 2013 must use their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits within 15 years of discharge, but there is no deadline for use if discharged after that date. This is particularly helpful if transferring benefits to children for later use.Transfer
An eligible member may transfer some or all educational benefits to a spouse or children. At the time of the election, the member must have at least six years of active duty service, and agree to serve another four years which means the election must be made while the member is still on active duty. A child must use the benefits before age 26. The transfer benefits are extremely modifiable and flexible and the member may modify or revoke the transfer at any time.
There is no automatic revocation upon divorce or remarriage, or a child’s marriage. If the member or veteran dies, the beneficiary remains eligible to use the post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Additionally, if the dependent has not used all of the benefits, the dependent may transfer the benefits to another eligible dependent. Should a dependent die after transfer, the military member/veteran may transfer the benefits to another eligible dependent.Allocation in a Dissolution
The GI Bill benefits are not divisible in dissolution, AKA divorce, however a military member or veteran may consent to a former spouse utilizing the benefits. A member may decide to allow this because it may reduce spousal maintenance requirements as it can facilitate a spouse developing education and skills to become financially self-sufficient. Such transfer election must be made prior to dissolution. The parties might also agree that one or more of their children will utilize the benefits. In Colorado, the monthly stipend is treated as income when calculating child support or alimony, but not the tuition assistance or book stipend.Janko Law - Is it Time For a Change?
If you are in the military or are a veteran or family member, you should have an attorney who understand the military. Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. We can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings for you. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 720-780-0115 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.