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Military divorce: Different than civilian divorce cases

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2021 | Divorce |

Military divorces aren’t quite the same as civilian cases, even though divorce is treated as a civil matter. There are special factors to consider in a military divorce, such as how temporary duty assignments might impact child custody decisions or if the length of the marriage may entitle the nonmilitary spouse to certain benefits, like a portion of a servicemember’s retired pay.

As someone who is working in the military, the first thing you should do is look at the specifics of your case and determine if rules like the 10/10 will play a role in it. For example, if you have only been married for five years, it’s not likely that you will need to worry about losing any of your retired pay to your ex-spouse. However, if you have better married for 10 years or longer, your military retired pay, as well as other benefits, may be available to your ex-spouse in the future.

Getting to know the 20/20/20 rule for long-term marriages

One of the greatest differences between a civilian divorce and military divorce is the 20/20/20 rule. With this, spouses who get divorced may receive benefits such as TRICARE coverage and a portion of their ex-spouse’s military retirement pay.

To qualify for this, your spouse would need to show that:

  • You’ve been married for 20 years or longer
  • 20 years of your marriage have overlapped with military service
  • 20 years of service is creditable for the purpose of retirement pay

If the 20/20/20 rule is applied and your spouse can prove that they qualify, they will be able to keep their military ID card and go anywhere that spouses are allowed to go. They may even continue to qualify for military discounts.

The abovementioned differences are just some that may affect a military divorce compared to a civilian divorce. If you have been married for more than two decades, you’re more likely to be affected by military divorce rules, but even a short marriage may be different based on your service. This is why it’s important to have support on your side, so you know what to expect.