Will I lose my military benefits after I divorce? It’s not only a common question for spouses of service members, but it is a question you should be seeking the answer to.

Clients will come in and ask, “Can I receive the life insurance benefits of my spouse if we divorce?” In order to continue to receive life insurance proceeds when the service member dies, there must be some negotiation during the divorce process. The former spouse is going to need to be designated as the irrevocable beneficiary in the event of a divorce.


Will I be able to shop at the exchange or the commissary after I divorce?


During the time as an active duty spouse, the spouse receives certain privileges for the base such as commissary and the exchange. If the spouse qualifies under the 20/20/20 rule, they will continue to have access to these privileges for their lifetime. If they qualify under the 20/20/15 rule, then they will have access to the commissary, the exchange for one year after the divorce is final.

The dependent children would obtain their own ID cards and they would continue to have base privileges, so the non-military parent may access those privileges when the children are present with them and they have their valid ID cards. If you have children from a prior marriage that were the dependents of your military spouse, they would not keep those benefits unless they’re legally adopted by the military spouse and are determined to be dependents of that service member.


Will I lose my medical insurance if I divorce my military spouse?


That will depend on the length of the marriage and the years of service of the military service member spouse. If they qualify, again, under that 20/20/20 rule, then you may keep your Tricare benefits for your lifetime, just so long as you don’t get remarried before the age of 55. If you fall under the 20/20/15 rule, then you’ll be eligible for Tricare for one year after the divorce is final.

The military does offer another plan which is similar to COBRA, if you meet the requirements and you are enrolled at Tricare at the time of your divorce, you can pay a premium. You MUST  enroll in the plan 60 days after the divorce is final, and just like COBRA, you will be eligible usually for about 36 months. If you’re making this selection, you must ensure that you complete all the required forms immediately when your divorce becomes final.


Can my children receive my spouse’s education benefits?


The GI bill is not transferable by court order, and it is not determined to be community property. Therefore, that would have to be an agreement that you make with your military spouse to enable the children to use that for their college education. Understanding the role that military benefits play in a divorce can be complicated and confusing, even for some family law attorneys, unless they’re knowledgeable about the military and military divorces.

You don’t know what you don’t know, therefore, it is important to work with an attorney that knows military divorce and the impact on the time rules as to the eligibility for benefits in your divorce. Any questions, shoot us an email or give us a call.