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How can military spouses keep military benefits?

| Dec 7, 2020 | Divorce |

If you and your military spouse choose to divorce, it may raise questions about your current benefits. All spouses have health care benefits, a potential right to a portion of retirement pay and eligibility to shop at the commissary and exchange while you are married. 

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act may preserve some of these rights, explains Military.com. 

Can you keep your commissary, exchange and Tricare benefits?

Not all spouses can continue to receive military benefits after a divorce. To qualify for benefits, the following must be true of your marriage: 

  • Your marriage lasted at least 20 years 
  • Your spouse served 20 years in the military 
  • Your marriage overlaps with 20 years of service 

Now, if your marriage overlapped for 15 or more years, you may keep your benefits  a transitional period that may last for about one year. After that year, you can enroll in a healthcare program that allows you to continue to have healthcare , provided neither of you have remarried. 

If you do not qualify for either of the options mentioned above, you can apply for a temporary health care program. The DOD Continued Health Care Program provides you with up to 36 months of coverage while you transition to alternative coverage. 

Can you access retired pay?

You do not receive retirement pay unless the divorce order awards you a portion of it. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act also helps you enforce child support or alimony awards. To enforce the division of property, you must remain married to your spouse for at least 10 years and in those last 10 years, he or she had to perform military service. 

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