Divorce is a difficult decision regardless of whether you are a part of a military or a civilian family. However, military divorces do have some elements that differ from a civilian divorce.
If you are a military spouse, you should learn about some of these differences so you have the proper information about how your benefits may change after your divorce. Here is some information that can help you on your way.
How do health care and military privileges work?
If you are a military spouse and you use TRICARE military health coverage, you may be wondering if you can keep this coverage after divorce. You may also be wondering how your military privileges (such as access to shopping at the exchange or commissary) may change after a divorce. There is a general rule known as the 20/20/20 rule that governs how military spouses can or cannot receive benefits after a divorce. If your marriage lasted at least 20 years, or your former spouse served for at least 20 years and your marriage overlapped this time by at least 20 years, then generally, the rule is you can retain privileges so long as you do not remarry.
Other issues such as retirement benefits and child custody
Military benefits are certainly not the only factors to consider in terms of planning for your post-divorce future. If you have children, one of the primary issues will be child custody and visitation, especially if your ex-spouse is on deployment or serving elsewhere. If your military spouse wants to retain primary custody and is moving to another place, this can become a complicated legal matter. On the financial side, there is child support to consider, as well as whether you as a former military spouse have the right to claim part of your ex-spouse’s retirement benefits.
Military divorces have many complex factors that a skilled attorney who has experience working with couples in which one or both spouses are service members should handle. If you are a military spouse facing a divorce, your first step should be to locate a lawyer who knows how to navigate these types of divorces.