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Understanding benefits eligibility after a military divorce

When you live in Virginia and enter into a marriage with a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you get to take advantage of certain military benefits, among them health care benefits and use of military commissaries. At Madigan and Scott, Inc., we field many questions from clients wondering if they can continue to utilize these services once their marriages end, and we have helped many people leaving military marriages navigate these and other military divorce-related issues.

According to Military.com, unless you are also a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you will most likely be unable to continue to use the commissary, Tricare health insurance and other military benefits post-divorce, although there is one important exception. If your marriage and your former spouse’s service term meet certain highly specific criteria, you may be able to continue to take advantage of military benefits even after your marriage ends.

In order to retain access to military benefits after a divorce, you will need to qualify under the conditions outlined by the 20/20/20 military divorce rule. The rule dictates that, to retain benefits eligibility after you divorce, your marriage must have lasted 20 years or longer. Also, your spouse had to spend at least 20 years serving his or her country, and your marriage – and his or her term of service – must have overlapped by at least 20 years.

Unless you meet these criteria, you will, unfortunately, not be able to continue to take advantage of military marriage benefits after your divorce becomes final. You can find more about military divorce on our webpage.

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Madigan and Scott, Inc.
7880 Backlick Road
Suite 2
Springfield, VA 22150

Phone: 703-455-1800
Fax: 703-451-4121
Springfield Family Law Office