What Happens To Your Military Benefits Post Divorce?
The military offers its servicemen and servicewomen a great deal of perks, including but not limited to a housing allowance, child care, free or reduced meals, free or reduced medical care, free education, reduced moving costs, and bargain prices at on-base exchanges, gas stations, and other establishments. When you marry a service member, you automatically gain access to all or most of those perks as well, which end up totaling out to somewhere around double their basic pay. But should you and your spouse get a divorce, your active duty spouse will get to keep the perks, and you will have to go back to providing for most of those perks on your own.
Notice we said “most.” While you may not get to keep all of the perks – such as reduced prices, free education, and free or reduced medical care – there are a few exceptions. This post will break down for you which perks you get to keep, which will be reduced, and which you will no longer have access to.
Once you and your spouse get divorced, you will no longer be eligible for the military provided allowance that is meant to cover all or part of your housing. Typically, the benefits will continue for up to 90 days post divorce, which is just enough time for each spouse to find a new place to live that is within their respective budgets. Furthermore, the active duty spouse may see a decrease in his or her allowance due to the reduced number of occupants living within the household.
Base ID, Free Meals, and Access to the PX
While most divorced civilian spouses will not be granted access to the base once they are no longer married to a service member, if the couple had children together, and if the children pose a need for the civilian spouse to go on base regularly – i.e. to take the kids to the doctor, to school, or to change custody – then that civilian spouse may keep their base ID card, and thereby receive all the perks of being on base. Perks of a base ID card include free or reduced meals, reduced gas prices, and access to the PX, where there are always reduced prices on merchandise.
Unless you were married to your spouse for 20 plus years, and unless those 20 years overlapped with your former spouse’s 20 years of active duty, (the 20/20/20 rule), then once you are divorced, you will not be eligible for medical coverage through Tricare. However, if you do meet the 20/20/20 rule, you may retain your benefits for the remainder of your life. If the overlap in marriage and active duty service was only 15 years, then you may keep your medical coverage under Tricare for up to 36 months post divorce. Once those 36 months are up, you must go out and find health coverage on your own.
Once you and your spouse divorce, you will no longer have access to educational benefits, moving allowances, or childcare assistance. Because of this, it is extremely important that you plan before getting a divorce, and ensure that you are able to financially support yourself by the time the documents are finalized.
Consult a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney
If you and your spouse are stationed in Florida, and if you are considering getting a divorce from your active duty spouse, consult with a Boca Raton divorce lawyer to ensure that you are adequately prepared for the drastic change in lifestyle a divorce will mean for you. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561.391.9943 or online to schedule a private consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys today.