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Is your spouse entitled to your military benefits after divorce?

If you reside in Virginia, are part of the U.S. Armed Forces and suspect a divorce is in your future, you may be wondering what rights your spouse will retain to your military benefits once the divorce is final. In most cases, your spouse will no longer be eligible to use a military commissary or rely on Tricare benefits once the two of you divorce, but there is a key exception.

Per, the decision of whether your spouse will retain access to your military benefits, post-divorce, comes down to whether they meet the criteria set forth by what is known as the 20/20/20 military divorce rule. For your soon-to-be-ex spouse to be able to qualify for your military benefits, your relationship must adhere to three specific criteria.

First, your marriage must last, at minimum, 20 years. Second, you must serve at least 20 years in the military, and third, your marriage and your period of service must also overlap by a minimum of 20 years. If your relationship meets these criteria, your spouse will maintain his or her access to your military benefits unless he or she remarries, at which point access ends.

If you share children with your non-military spouse, however, they can maintain access to your benefits, even if your ex-spouse does not qualify for them under the 20/20/20 rule. This holds true even if your ex-spouse remarries.  Your marriage also does not have to last a minimum of 20 years in order for your children to maintain access to your benefits.

While this information about military benefits and divorce is informative, it should not replace legal advice. 

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Alexandria, VA 22314

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