The Post-9/11 GI Bill has made it much easier for a military dependent use their sponsor (the servicemember’s) unused GI Bill benefits. This is a wonderful change, and has made it much easier for military personnel to provide excellent college educations for their children and spouses.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill makes generous allowances for not just tuition at a public college but also books and living expenses, and many private colleges will even match government benefits under the “Yellow Ribbon” program!
It is often understood in a military marriage that the GI Bill will be saved for use by the children, but there are certain steps that need to be taken during a divorce to ensure that the benefit will be available for the child when the time comes. For example, the benefit transfer must be requested before the servicemember retires from the military. The wording in the court order or marital settlement agreement with respect to the GI Bill is also very important to protect the child’s benefit. Active duty servicemembers can change the beneficiaries of their GI Bill at any time, so care must be taken to discourage the servicemember from later changing the beneficiary.
Perhaps rather than using the GI Bill benefit for your children, you want to use it for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse so that they can improve their earning potential. Sometimes this is requested or offered in lieu of alimony. This can also be done! However, the benefit transfer must be requested before the divorce is final.
Never married? The GI Bill benefit can still be used for the children, as long as they are either legally adopted or are the biological child of the service member!
Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle specializes in Family Law, including Military families. We’ll help you access all the rights and benefits you’ve earned by your service. Call 856-227-7888 for a free consultation to discuss your GI Bill of Rights option. (Find us on Facebook!)