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Three Issues Involved in Divorce for Military Service Members


Divorce is always an upsetting experience and no two cases are ever exactly the same. For service members in the military, however, there are even more unique issues that must be addressed. Not only do military service members have to resolve the same issues, such as property division and alimony, but they must also consider the benefits they receive for their service, and even the very nature of their job. If you are a member of the military that is about to get divorced, below are the top three issues you may face.

Child Custody and Overseas Travel

It is very common for military members to be called to serve overseas. This is challenging in the best of circumstances but after divorce, it may become a bit more complicated. Service members should know that their military status will not affect child custody hearings.

The only difference between child custody cases for service members and civilians is that a member of the military may have to designate a trusted adult to watch the children if they are called overseas. However, the very fact that someone is in the military will not work for or against them when a judge is making a decision on awarding custody.

Military Divorce and Tricare

Spouses of military members often wonder if they will still receive Tricare benefits after the divorce is final. Generally speaking, spouses of service members will not receive Tricare benefits once they divorce someone in the military. However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

The first exception is known as the 20/20/20 rules. Under this rule, spouses may continue to receive Tricare benefits if:

  • They were married to a member of the military for at least 20 years,
  • The military member served for at least 20 years, and
  • The time of service and the marital relationship overlapped for at least 20 years

Spouses that meet all of the above qualification requirements can still receive Tricare benefits until they turn 65, when Medicare benefits will generally begin.

The other exception is known as the 20/20/25 rule. Under this rule, a spouse may still receive Tricare benefits if:

  • They were married to the military member for a minimum of 20 years,
  • The service member served in the military for a minimum of 20 years, and
  • The time of service and the marriage overlapped for at least 15 years

Spouses that meet the above eligibility requirements can receive Tricare benefits for one year from the date of divorce.

BAS and BAH Allowances

Divorce may also affect the Basic Allowances for Subsistence (BAS) and the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) benefits military members receive. The most important thing service members must know is that these benefits are treated as income during the divorce process and therefore, are taken into consideration when judges are making decisions on child support and alimony.

Our Florida Family Lawyers can Advise on Your Case

Divorce is always a complicated process, but service members have unique issues that must be taken into consideration. If you are going through a divorce, our Port St. Lucie divorce lawyers at Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. are here to help. We know the distinct issues you are dealing with, and can provide the sound legal advice you need. Call us today at (772) 905-8692 or contact us online so we can review your case.

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