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What is the 20/20/20 rule in a military divorce?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2021 | Family Law, Uncategorized

Going through a divorce when you’re in the military is a challenging undertaking. Certain rules apply to military cases that aren’t applicable to civilian ones. An attorney who’s familiar with military divorces can help you learn your options so you can protect your rights.

One thing that’s much different with a military divorce is that you’ll have to consider the 20/20/20 rule if you’ve been married for at least 20 years. This rule has to do with what benefits a civilian spouse will continue to have once their marriage ends.

What does 20/20/20 mean?

You must meet all three of the following conditions to qualify for benefits under the 20/20/20 rule :

  • Your service member ex must have at least 20 years of creditable service toward retirement pay
  • Your marriage must have lasted at least 20 years
  • There must be an overlap of at least 20 years of marriage and credible military service

Civilian spouses who meet the 20/20/20 rule may be able to keep their military ID card post-divorce. This may allow them to continue to receive private business discounts and access to the base exchange or commissary facilities. This 20/20/20 rule also allows civilian spouses to continue using their TRICARE insurance. 

You’ll want to keep present in your mind how these benefits expire if you, as the recipient, remarry. You’ll also have to apply for TRICARE. Your TRICARE coverage will end up being listed in your instead of the service member’s name once your coverage renews after your divorce’s finalization. 

If you’re a military member or civilian spouse that’s contemplating divorce, then it’s best to learn your options and rights early. This can help you to formulate a plan that may allow you to continue receiving military benefits.