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Post-divorce military benefits for spouse can be elusive

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2017 | blog |

Divorce in Florida can be difficult for almost all involved to varying degrees. A military component can add many divorce issues that are not evident among the civilian population. Moreover, people of long-term marriages may have issues unique to their age group.

These issues may include having retired from the workforce, either by choice or by medical need. If one or more spouse worked in a Social Security paying job, Social Security benefits may be available for the other spouse at no cost to the worker. However, military spouses often incorrectly believe they will also have post-divorce military benefits resulting from the military member’s long service.

Unfortunately, many times they find out they had a flawed understanding of these benefits and that despite a long marriage, no such benefits will be flowing their way.

Military benefits that are possible for ex-spouse

The possible post-divorce military benefits are valuable and include the following:

  • Access to Tricare (with exceptions)
  • Use of the commissary
  • Enjoyment of MWR facilities and other base privileges

The 20-20-20 rule

The 20-20-20 rule is one that provides for the military spouse after a divorce. However, former marriage to a military member for 20 years is not enough. It is not enough even if that military member served for 20 years. That is because of the third 20 in the rule.

This third requirement is that at least 20 years of the marriage overlapped entirely with at least 20 years of the military service. In other words, military spouses must have put in their own time with the military to get the military spouse benefit for divorced spouses.

The timing of the divorce that can help both spouses

Both spouses, if considering either a divorce or considering no longer serving in the military, may want to first review their standings under the 20-20-20 rule. Haste sometimes makes waste, and a little more patience to wait on a divorce to ensure coverage under the rule can make a notable financial difference to their post-divorce financial lives.