Apportionment process


Jim: Help me understand how the mother of my son, who's now 19 can request an apportionment? I understand the VA considers him a dependent until he's reached his 23 birthday, if he's in college, but my research shows he'd have to request the apportionment, not his mother. Also IDK if he's in college because the mother refuses to tell me if he's in school, therefore I have not submitted VA Form 21-674. Also I went to jail for a bit and ATT the mother closed the state child support order and received an apportionment from the VA. So I am under no order to pay any arrears or have no obligation. The VA won't give me any information on the basis of her assertions, so it's virtually impossible to defend myself against this claim. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks

Jim's Reply:

Your research is incorrect.

As the obligor, you owe the money to the obligee because she is responsible for the welfare of the child. If VA approves an apportionment they will be acting for you to fulfill your court ordered obligation. If it worked the way you'd like it to you would be paying child support directly to the child and the law doesn't allow that. In fact, in most divorces these days you pay the state and the state disperses the money so there's only one place the money should go.

The VA will determine eligibility and whether he is in an approved school, etc.  You aren't responsible for the VA Form 21-674. The instructions provided on that form are clear that the application will fall to the child and his guardian who we will assume to be his mother.

That you were incarcerated complicates everything. Depending on the length and time of incarceration, and as a general rule, your obligations to pay child support do not end while you're in prison. The VA isn't required to give you any information about the child or your former spouse. You are required to complete the financial forms VA asks you to complete so that they may make a fair and equitable decision on behalf of you and your dependents.

To this impartial observer it sounds as if you've been incarcerated and that you have no contact or knowledge of what your child has been doing. While you may not feel like you owe any money, it also sounds as if you probably do have the obligation and arrearages to face until the dependent child is 23 years old or leaves college.

A child support order never disappears. I've read decisions where the child has long passed majority and the court still finds the debt is owed. It's easiest to accept our responsibility and pay the obligation as we should.