Sunday, December 14, 2008
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: