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Your military divorce may affect your eligibility for benefits

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2022 | Divorce |

If you are facing divorce, you probably wonder how much of your military spouse’s retired pay you stand to receive.

However, another question concerns the military benefits you enjoyed during your marriage. How will the divorce affect your eligibility for those benefits?

About retired pay

Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act or USFSPA, there is a method for enforcement of the alimony and child support payments awarded to you by the court. However, any amount of retired pay for which you qualify must appear as an award in the final divorce order.

The 20/20/20 rule for benefits

There are three USFSPA requirements for your commissary, exchange and healthcare benefits to continue:

  • Your spouse must have performed at least 20 years of creditable military service
  • Your marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years
  • Your marriage must have overlapped the service period by a minimum of 20 years

If you meet the first two requirements but your marriage only overlapped the service period by 15 years, you will continue to have full military benefits for only one year after the divorce.

Alternative healthcare

If you are not a 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 spouse, you may wish to take advantage of an alternate healthcare plan. You can enroll in the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit Program. This program is available for 36 months following a divorce or until you find a healthcare plan that meets your needs.

Next steps

You may find yourself adrift in the attempt to sort through the requirements of a military divorce. However, with legal guidance, you can surmount any problems that arise and prepare for the next phase of your life.