What Happens to Military Benefits After Divorce?

Are you getting divorced, and you or your spouse is in the military? If so, you likely have questions about what will happen to military benefits during and after your divorce. These benefits are important to your financial future, so you need help from a Cumming divorce attorney who handles military divorce cases.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

This is an important federal law that entitles former spouses of military members to certain benefits. A qualified former spouse who is not remarried can retain benefits involving medical care, exchange, commissary, and theater privileges. They can also receive a portion of the military member’s retirement pay when applicable. Qualifications include the following, which is commonly called the 20/20/20 rule:

  • The spouse and military member were married for 20 years or longer when the divorce was final.
  • The military member had at least 20 years of service that would qualify for retirement benefits.
  • They were married for at least 20 years of military service.

Spouses might qualify for TRICARE medical benefits after a marriage that lasted 20 years, 20 years of active service, and at least 15 years overlapping between the marriage and military service. In this case, there are no exchange or commissary benefits. If you do not meet the 20/20/20 requirements, you can keep your military ID card and continue receiving benefits during the pending divorce case.

Some additional military benefit considerations include:

  • Within 30 days of one spouse moving out because of a divorce, you will likely lose your installation housing.
  • If you are a non-military member and you must move back to the U.S. from an overseas duty station, the military might cover your moving expenses.
  • If you are moving in-state, you might be able to negotiate moving costs in your divorce settlement.
  • Medical coverage - After your TRICARE coverage ends due to divorce, you can choose to purchase temporary coverage for up to three years under the Department of Defense Continued Health Care Benefit program. Children of military members can continue TRICARE coverage until age 21 (or 23 if they are college students).

Each branch of the military has its own policies that require members to financially support their families if they separate, even without a settlement agreement or court order. This includes payment of spousal and child support.

Speak with a Cumming Divorce Attorney Right Away

Divorce is difficult enough without unique issues such as military benefits. If you are set to lose your benefits because you do not meet the 20/20/20 requirement, it is critical that you plan ahead financially. Benefits are also only one of several issues that a military divorce involves, and your attorney can explain any other requirements.

At the law firm of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP, our Cumming divorce attorneys help military members and their spouses through every stage of the divorce process. We are ready to help, so please contact us to discuss your situation with our team. We can explain the process and what to expect during and after your divorce case.