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When are you eligible for benefits in a military divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2021 | Military Divorce

When you are in a marriage with a Texas service member, you may find yourself taking advantage of certain benefits reserved for military members and their families. You may use military commissaries for your shopping, and you may also use TRICARE health insurance for you and your family’s medical needs. What happens, though, if you are not a military member yourself and your marriage to one ends?

Per Military.com, only non-military members who meet strict eligibility requirements may keep access to military benefits after divorcing a servicemember. Whether you may continue to use military benefits depends on whether you meet the criteria outlined by the 20/20/20 rule.

The 20/20/20 rule

You may continue to use military benefits after divorcing a servicemember if three circumstances exist. First, your ex must have served at least 20 years in the military. Second, your marriage to him or her must have lasted at least 20 years. Third, your ex’s service term and your marriage have to have overlapped by at least 20 years.

Exceptions to the 20/20/20 rule

There is one rare exception to the 20/20/20 military divorce rule. If your marriage lasted 20 years and your ex’s service term lasted at least 20 years, but your marriage only overlapped the service term by 15 years, you may use transitional TRICARE for one year from the date your divorce finalizes. Unless your situation meets the 20/20/20 rule criteria or the criteria outlined above, there are no continued military benefits for non-service members after divorce.

Keep in mind that even if you do qualify for military benefits after your military divorce, you give up this right if you decide to remarry.