Sunday, December 14, 2008

20/20/20 Rule In Military Divorce


I have had the pleasure of having quite a few military clients over the past few years, some serving here in the United States, others serving over in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other military bases around the world. I've also represented spouses of military men and women who have many questions about what military benefits they may or may not enjoy when their divorce is finalized. Almost always, a military spouse will be entitled to a portion of military retirement, and how much a spouse is entitled to is based on a calculation which takes into account the years of military service, the years of the marriage, and how many years of service overlap your marriage.



Another major concern for military spouses is whether or not they are going to be entitled to health insurance after their divorce is finalized, and the answer to that is also based upon a calculation called the 20/20/20 Rule. If you have been married for 20 years, your spouse has been in the military for at least 20 years, and you have 20 years of marriage overlapping your 20 years of marriage, then you are entitled to the same benefits as your soon to be ex-spouse meaning health care and full commissary benefits. Another rule is the 20/20/15 rule which means if you have been married for 20 years, your spouse has been in the military for 20 years and at least 15 years of your marriage has overlapped his/her military service, you are entitled to health care benefits for a year after your divorce is finalized. There are other rules and benefits to be aware of if you are getting a divorce and your spouse is in the military and I encourage everyone who is getting a divorce to do your research and find out what you are entitled to before you sign any divorce paperwork or go into a courtroom. To learn more about the rights and benefits of former spouses of servicemen and servicewomen, see:



http://www.military.com/benefits/legal-matters/usfpa-overview

4 comments:

Tim Evans said...

Thanks for posting this informative article. I knew that military retirement could be considered marital property, but not having handled a military divorce yet, I did not know about the 20-20-20 rule.

Anonymous said...

I was divorced in Puerto Rico and I have been told by the military that because the judge there did not specifically write that I am entitled to my ex-husband's future retiree pay, and I now live in Florida, that I must go back to court on this issue. Is this true?

dr_dillon said...

Thank you for posting such important information. However, I wish I had found your site sooner. My divorce was final April 30, 2009. I have run into a stone wall concerning the 20/20/20 spouse rule. My husband was in the military from July 1975 - Nov 1978, then got out. He rejoined the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Nov 1980. We married Aug 28, 1982. He moved from reserve to active duty April 30, 1984 with no break in service and retired Jan 31, 2003. According to any information I can find the 20 year overlap must have occurred during "creditable service." Is the reserve time "creditable service?"

Anonymous said...

Does/could the judge take into account the amount of time of seperation to make a determination of the 20/20/20 rule?