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What protections do military spouses have?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2021 | Divorce |

To realize that the end of your marriage is near can be one of the most difficult moments of your life. As part of the stress of the divorce, many spouses worry about what will happen to their benefits following the divorce.

According to, if you are the spouse of a military service member, there are protections in place to ensure that you do not have to sink or swim directly after a divorce.

Former spouse access to healthcare

Your benefits depend heavily on how long you and your spouse remained married, how long he or she was in the service and how long your marriage overlapped with that service.

When you had a 20-year marriage to a service member who served at least 20 years, with a 20-year overlap, you can continue treatment at military facilities and do not lose your Tricare benefits.

If your marriage lasted 20 years and if your spouse served 20 years with an overlap of 15 years while married, then you have access to healthcare for at least one year following the divorce. If this is not your case, you can apply for the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit Program. This temporary healthcare coverage provides you 36 months to find new coverage.

Former spouse access to retirement

While you do not have automatic access to your former spouse’s retirement pay, you may receive a portion of it after the divorce order. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act can enforce child support or spousal support. To receive a portion of the retirement, your marriage must last at least 10 years and your spouse must serve at least 10 years in the military.


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