If you are married to someone in the military and are about to enter the divorce process, you should be aware of the effects the divorce will have on your military benefits.
You will not be eligible to continue using the commissaries and exchanges once your divorce is finalized. This differs when you meet the requirements of the 20/20/20 rule. To qualify for the 20/20/20 rule a former spouse must show that the service member served at least 20 years, that the marriage lasted at least 20 years and that the period of the marriage overlapped the period of service by at least 20 years.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act also permits former spouses to continue receiving commissary, exchange, and health care benefits after a divorce. If you do not qualify for the 20/20/20, you may retain your identification card and can continue to receive your commissary, exchange and health care benefits until your divorce is final.
There are other issues for you to consider regarding divorce and military benefits:
• Military Housing: The service member does not have the authority to evict you. Only the installation commander has that authority. However, it is important to remember that by law, military family housing can only be occupied by service members who reside with their family members. Therefore, if you are separating from your spouse and you are not in the military, you and your family must vacate military family housing.
• Health Care: Unless you meet special requirements, like the 20/20/20, as a former spouse, you will not be entitled to any military health benefits after your divorce is final. However, you can receive a premium-based temporary health care coverage program, for 36 months of coverage.
• Support: In order to receive alimony or child support you must specifically request that a civilian court do so. State courts with jurisdiction over dependent children or a state agency with the proper authority can order child support payments. Child support can additionally be secured through what is known as a statutory allotment.
The effects of divorce on your military benefits vary with each case, in order to get the best assistance with planning out your divorce and ensuring you understand the process, it is best to keep in contact with your divorce and family law attorney.
If you have specific questions and/or need help with your military divorce contact Thorsteinson Law Group, your trusted and experienced divorce and family law attorney.