By Staff Attorney
The Gasper Law Group, PLLC
If your spouse is in the military, and if you plan to divorce, you likely have numerous questions about your military benefits. For instance, will you keep your health insurance? Will you still enjoy military discounts and pension benefits? What happens if you or your spouse later remarries?
A family law attorney can provide specific insight and answers, based on your circumstances. Life obviously changes in huge and unpredictable ways after dissolution of a marriage, but during the separation, spouses and all family members keep benefits.
Coverage for Children and Ex-Spouses
Your dependent children can still receive medical coverage through TRICARE, the military health insurer. Until the age of 22, children remain legal dependents of the service member unless they marry. For the ex-spouse, benefits vary, depending on how long you and your spouse were married. As an ex-military spouse, you won’t qualify for full benefits unless all of the following apply:
- The marriage lasted a minimum of 20 years
- Your ex-spouse served for a minimum of 20 years
- The marriage overlapped with the military service by a minimum of 20 years
- You have not remarried
- You have not enrolled in a health plan through your employer.
If you qualify under the 20/20/20 rule, you will receive full coverage until the age of 62 or until you are eligible for Medicare. You will also continue to receive commissary and Post Exchange benefits. If you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify for limited coverage.
A former spouse who is eligible under 20/20/20 can keep his or her military identification. No one else can use it, although it might serve as a keepsake.
Survivor Benefit Plan
The Survivor Benefit Plan includes a beneficiary, much like an insurance plan. The couple, their lawyers or a court of law determines who will receive those benefits. The former spouse must designate “former spouse coverage.” However, if the former spouse remarries prior to the age of 55, this cancels SBP benefits.
Retirement Pay from the Military
According to the 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, you have the right to divide military retirement in a divorce decree. Your state has further laws that specifically govern this division of property.
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