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What’s the 20/20/20 rule for military divorces?

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2023 | Military Family Law |

Going through a divorce that involves someone in the military comes with some special points that aren’t present in other divorces. Some of these have to do with the benefits the civilian can retain after the divorce.

The benefits for former spouses are reserved for people who have had lengthy marriages. The military uses the 20/20/20 rule to determine if someone qualifies for benefits after the divorce.

Basis of the 20/20/20 rule

The 20/20/20 rule means that each of the following must be true:

  • You were married at least 20 years
  • The service member has 20 years of good service
  • The marriage and service time overlapped by 20 years

If all those are true, the non-military spouse will keep their military identification card so they have access to exchanges and commissaries. They’ll be able to continue to shop at those locations.

They can also continue to receive Tricare insurance for medical care. This doesn’t happen automatically with the divorce. Instead, the civilian has to provide information to Tricare to show they should have benefits. They’ll have to register using their own Social Security number and name. This coverage lasts until they enroll in a health plan through their employer or get married again.

Going through a military divorce has a few different considerations than a civilian divorce. For example, the individual who’s still serving and has children will need a family care plan on file with their commanding officer. Ultimately, you have to protect yourself. Having someone on your side who can help you through everything is beneficial in these cases.