Divorce matters can be complicated, regardless of the employment status of the parties. But when one or both of the spouses is a member of the military, several issues come into play. This article will address health benefits, retirement pay available to spouses of military service members, and child support.
- Military Benefits Available to Former Spouses:
In most divorces, upon the entry of a judgment for dissolution of marriage (a final divorce decree), a spouse is no longer eligible to be covered under the other spouse’s medical benefits. However, for military divorces, there are special rules.
“20/20/15 Spouses”: A military member’s former spouse qualifies for medical benefits for a full year, beginning from the date of the divorce so long as all of these are true:
- The parties were married for 20 years or more (from the date of marriage to the date of entry of a divorce decree or annulment),
- The service member performed 20 years or more of military service which entitles him/her to retirement pay; and
- There is a 15 year or more overlap of the marriage and military service.
If the 20/20/15 former military spouse has employer-sponsored medical insurance, he or she is not eligible for the one-year transitional care. If that employer-provided plan is optional, the former spouse can opt out of that plan and choose to participate in the one-year military benefit pan.