What Privileges Can I Maintain After My Military Divorce?

Divorce decree

After a divorce, you can be overwhelmed with the idea of loss the of health care, housing, or other benefits. This confusion regarding the privileges maintained after a divorce, is amplified in a military divorce because of the amount of benefits the military provides to families. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the benefits you will be able to keep and those that you will lose after your divorce is finalized. Discuss these items with your attorney to ensure these privileges are factored into your divorce settlement.

A great deal of your military privilege retention depends upon timing, and marital status. The rule governing benefits after a divorce is known as the 20/20/20 rule and 20/20/15 rule. These numbers refer to the duration of marriage, duration of service in the military, and the overlap between the marriage and military service, respectively. Therefore, if you have been married for 20 years, your spouse has served in the military for 25 years, and during the time of your 20 year marriage your spouse was involved with the military for its entirety you will be subject to this protection. However, even if a year, or day short of these time limits you could lose a great deal of benefits.

If you qualify under the 20/20/20 rule, you will be able to retain your medical benefits provided under Tricare; access to the commissary and exchange; retain your military ID; and essentially be provided all other benefits you received while married to your military spouse. However, these benefits will be lost upon your remarriage.

In contrast, if there is only a 15 year overlap between the marriage to your spouse, and their military service you will qualify under the 20/20/15 rule. Under this rule, the only privilege you will retain is qualification for health care benefits under Tricare for a period of one year. You will lose access to the commissary and exchange, and your military ID will be deactivated.

For those who do not qualify under either of these time constraints, you will unfortunately lose all military privileges previously provided to you. However, you may qualify for health benefits under COBRA that may last up to 3 years. Further, if there are minor children of the marriage, the children will retain their full military benefits until the age of 22. Therefore, they will be permitted to use base facilities, health insurance, and ID cards.

The great deal of privileges provided by the military can add up and become a substantial part of your every day life and financial situation. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the privileges you will be able to maintain after your divorce. Discuss these items with your lawyer to ensure you properly understand the laws pertaining to these privileges and that the loss of each is accounted for in your settlement.

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