What Benefits Can a Military Spouse Retain in a Divorce?

North Carolina has a strong military presence, and military divorces are unfortunately common. For the military spouse, there are often questions regarding benefits and which ones can be retained after the divorce. This is important because it includes health care coverage and the right to have a military identification card.

The length of the marriage and length of service will be calculated

The right of a military spouse to keep various benefits will hinge on the duration of the marriage and the length of service. Under the 20/20/20 rule, if the marriage lasted for 20 years, the member served for 20 years and there was an overlap between the two, the non-serving spouse can keep health care coverage through Tricare, have a military ID card, visit installations to shop, and receive certain discounts. If the non-military spouse remarries, the benefits will cease.

There is also the 20/20/15 rule in which the overlap was 15 years instead of 20. With that, the former spouse does not have an ID card nor the right to shop on an installation. The Tricare benefits will last for up to one year from the date of the end of the marriage. The 10/10 rule is based on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. Under that law, if the couple was married for a minimum of 10 years and the service member served at least 10 years during the marriage, then the federal law allows for the enforcement of the former spouse’s rights to receive part of the retirement pay through the Department of Defense as well as receiving child support and alimony in a military divorce.

Help may be needed to get military benefits after a divorce

There are other benefits that a former military spouse might be eligible for, including the Continued Health Care Benefits Program for those losing Tricare. Non-military spouses should be aware of their right to receive these benefits. In a military divorce, these issues can be complicated, and having experienced guidance can help with getting everything they are entitled to.

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