Military divorces are sometimes complex undertakings because you have to consider things that aren’t present in civilian divorces. There’s a chance that the non-military spouse may qualify for direct payments from the military member’s retirement. Certain on-base privileges might also be extended to the non-military spouse after a divorce.
The length of the marriage, the time the person’s been in the service, and the amount of overlap of those two factors is critical. Some of the benefits that are available to the non-military spouse are based on meeting requirements for all three time factors. Let’s look at a few privileges.
In order for the non-military individual to qualify for privileges on base, such as using the exchange, commissary or theater, they have to meet the 20/20/20 rule. This means they were married for at least 20 years during which time the servicemember served at least 20 years in the military. Thus, a 20-year overlap period is a necessity.
Tricare coverage uses that 20/20/20 rule, but there’s an exclusion for someone who gets remarried. People who don’t meet the 20/20/20 rule may qualify for one year of coverage under Tricare if they meet the 20/20/15 rule, which reduces the overlap period of service and marriage to 15 years.
Direct retirement payments
In order for the non-military spouse to qualify for direct retirement payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service after the divorce, the servicemember must be eligible for retirement. The marriage and service time must also have at least a 10-year overlap.