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Divorce and military benefits

California is home to thousands of military couples. Each year, sadly, many of them end their marriages. It’s important for military spouses to understand how divorce can impact them. In military divorces, dividing assets can be very complicated. In some cases, a spouse is entitled to some military benefits, or a portion of them.

Time is important

In determining whether a military spouse is eligible for benefits in a divorce, one of the key determinants is time. This includes length of the service, the length of the marriage and the overlap between the two. The 10/10 rule and 20/20/20 rule are two examples of how time comes into play during a military divorce.

Retirement benefits are determined under the 10/10 rule. This guideline refers to a marriage lasting for at least 10 years and a length of service of 10 years during the marriage. The 10/10 rule has been in effect for about 40 years now.

The 20/20/20 rule is different. It refers to a 20-year marriage, with 20 years of service and 20 years of overlap between the two. The 20/20/20 rule impacts an ex-spouse’s eligibility for Tricare health benefits, a Department of Defense ID card and things like an ability to shop at the commissary. If the ex-spouse remarries, they will lose these benefits.

Education benefits can also be impacted by divorce. It’s important for people in a military divorce to consult with an experienced attorney. This should be someone who understands how divorce is different for military families and how to navigate the benefits systems.