Going through a divorce of any sort is rather difficult. If you are the spouse of a military member, going through a military divorce can put you in a precarious position because you are likely going to lose a lot of the benefits that you have relied on a military spouse. It is vital that you understand how your benefits will change before you are divorced.
Are there any benefits that I will be able to keep?
In most cases, you will lose all the military benefits you have enjoyed if you go through a military divorce. As far as health care goes, you can receive health care through the Department of Defense Continued Health Care Benefit Program. You will have to pay a premium in order to get the coverage, which you can use for up to 36 months after the divorce. Other benefits, such as installation housing and the right to use the exchange or commissary, are usually discontinued.
Is there a way to keep the benefits I have enjoyed?
The only way that you can keep almost all of the benefits is if you meet the 20/20/20 rule, which means that you were married for 20 years, your spouse served 20 years in the military, and 20 years of marriage and military service overlapped. Military spouses who were married 20 years with a spouse who served 20 years, but only 15 of those years overlapped would retain TRICARE for one year. No other benefits are continued in a 20/20/15 situation.
The circumstances surrounding a military divorce can have a big impact on the divorce settlement. If you are considering a military divorce, make sure you understand how your case might be impacted by the military service.
Source: Military OneSource, “Rights and Benefits of Divorced Spouses in the Military,” accessed Dec. 24, 2015
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