Military divorces have special considerations. For example, in a military divorce, a spouse can go directly to a service member’s commanding officer to get support. Usually a commanding officer will give some support to a spouse until a temporary needs hearing or a Judge orders a certain amount. Obviously on a service member’s LES, they do get extra money for a spouse or a dependent. Sometimes however, a spouse will attempt to get more than their allotted share. There are many other issues regarding a military divorce, but probably the most complicated and misunderstood is retirement. Many people believe that the non-military spouse is not entitled to any retirement until they have been married 10 years. This is absolutely incorrect. The non-military spouse is entitled to 50% of the marital share of the service member’s retirement no matter how long they are married.
Where the 10 years come into play is who actually sends the marital portion of the retirement check to the non-military spouse. After 10 years, the military will actually split the check up and send it. Prior to the 10 years, the service member actually has to send it. There are different equations that come into play, but for the most part a general equation is the non-service member will receive 50% of the value of the service member’s military retirement from the point of marriage to the point of filing of the Petition for Dissolution. They will not get any increase based on post-dissolution actions such as time of service and increase in military rank. They get 50% of the value as of the time and rank of the service member at the filing of the Petition.
There are many other different rules. A “20/20/20” when applied to a military divorce benefits an unmarried former spouse and may qualify for medical benefits, and Commissary and Exchange privileges if all of the following requirements are met: the parties have been married for at least 20 years (date of marriage to date of divorce decree or annulment); the service member performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retirement pay; and there is at least a 20 year overlap of marriage and the military service. A former spouse who has employer/ sponsored medical insurance is not eligible for military medical care or Tricare. If the employer plan is optional, the former spouse may decline that insurance and remain eligible under Tricare. The former spouse may enroll in Tricare Prime, where available, at the same rate as a retiree, with the accompanying enrollment fee and copays. If the former spouse uses Tricare Standard, he or she is responsible for the copays and any amount over the Tricare allowable charges. DEERS will reflect Tricare eligibility for unmarried former spouses using the former spouse’s own Social Security Number.
A “20/20/15” former spouse qualifies for medical benefits for one year from the date of the divorce or annulment if all of the following qualifications are met: the parties have been married for at least 20 years (date of marriage to date of divorce decree or annulment); the service member performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retirement pay; and there is at least a 15 year overlap of the marriage and military service. A “20/20/15” former spouse who has employer’s sponsored medical insurance is not eligible for the one year transitional medical care. However, if the employer plan is optional, the former spouse may decline that insurance and participate in the one year benefit. “20/20/15” spouses are not eligible for Commissary, Exchange, or MWR privileges. Children residing in the household of a separated spouse continue to be eligible for Commissary privileges until the divorce is final. Once the divorce is final, children living with a former spouse are not considered members of the authorized sponsor’s household for Commissary privileges, even if the authorized sponsor provides or maintains the former spouse’s home. Children are still entitled to use the Exchange and MWR if they are dependent on the sponsor for over 50% of their support.
Kenny Leigh & Associates is a Florida firm that specializes in family law for men. We have 10 offices across the State of Florida. For more information please go to www.divorcemenonly.com.