A divorce is always difficult, whether you’re in the military or are a civilian. One of the things you may be concerned about is whether or not you qualify for continued military benefits.

If you get a divorce from your spouse who is in the military, your right to military benefits is determined by the 20/20/20 rule. This rule states that you will not have military divorce benefits unless you have been married for at least 20 years. In addition to that, your spouse should have been in the military for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce and your marriage should overlap that military time by the same number of years.

What happens if you don’t fall under the 20/20/20 rule?

If you do not qualify under the 20/20/20 rule, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to anything following the divorce, but it does mean that you will not be able to have military benefits. For example, you can still seek a portion of your spouse’s military retirement, but you aren’t entitled to continue using the base’s services.

One benefit that is still possible is that you may qualify for transitional Tricare for up to a year after your divorce is final depending on your circumstances. That may help you as you move back into a civilian lifestyle and get your medical and financial needs in order.

If you have children together, they should continue to be able to use military benefits because your spouse is in the military. For your children to qualify, you don’t need to be married 20 years. Additionally, they will keep their benefits even if you choose to remarry later. If you have questions about these rules, your attorney can help look into your case.

Source: Military.com, “What Are My Military Divorce Benefits?,” accessed July 27, 2017

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