family law

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James D. Madden & Aruna P. Rodrigo, Family Law Attorneys

Military Divorce

How Are Military Benefits Handled in a Divorce?

Divorce can be a complicated process, and only becomes more so when military benefits are involved. While the military generally considers divorces as private matters that should be handled in civilian courts, there are certain benefits that a civilian court cannot divide between spouses. Whether you are considering filing for divorce or if you’ve already begun the process, and experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate any complications that arise.

Call us at (909) 344-5704 to speak with one of our attorneys.

Filing for divorce can be a complicated and stressful process, but with experienced legal counsel it doesn’t have to be. At James D. Madden, Attorney at Law, our San Bernardino divorce attorneys have dedicated their careers to providing families and individuals with the representation they need to secure the beneficial outcome they deserve. Contact us today to discuss your situation and begin planning for your future.

What Can Happen To My Benefits?

20/20/20 Former Spouse Benefits

There are a variety of benefits that, depending on how long you or your spouse served in the military and how long you were married, may still apply to the non-servicemember once the divorce is complete. In order to qualify for full military privileges and benefits after divorcing a servicemember, there are several requirements of the “20/20/20 Rule” that you must meet.

  • You and the servicemember must have been married for 20 years or more before the divorce proceedings are complete.
  • The servicemember must have served for 20 years or more. While they don’t need to be retired for the benefits to apply, those 20 years must be creditable when determining eligibility. For example, time spent absent without official leave (AWOL) and National Guars service, unless it meets specific criteria[1], are not creditable.
  • The servicemember must have been married to the civilian for 20 years or more of creditable service.

In order for the ex-spouse of the servicemember to retain exchange, commissary, and health care benefits after the divorce, they must meet all of the criteria listed as requirements for the 20/20/20 rule.

20/20/15 Former Spouse Benefits

You may qualify for transitional military health care benefits for the year following your divorce even if you don’t qualify for the 20/20/20 rule if the 20/20/15 rule applies to your situation.

  • You and the servicemember must have been married for 20 years or more before the divorce proceedings are complete.
  • The servicemember must have served for 20 years or more. While they don’t need to be retired for the benefits to apply, those 20 years must be creditable when determining eligibility. For example, time spent absent without official leave (AWOL) and National Guard service, unless it meets specific criteria1, are not creditable.
  • The servicemember must have been married to the civilian for 15 years or more of creditable service.

You will still be entitled to retain your TRICARE medical coverage for one year following the divorce if you meet the requirements set forth in the 20/20/15 rule. However, you will not retain any other health care, commissary, or exchange benefits.

Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act allows the state to treat retired pay as disposable income in order to divide it between the ex-spouses to fulfill child support or alimony obligations. In some cases, ex-spouses of servicemembers may be granted access to military commissaries and exchanges, and can grant them access to health care at military treatment facilities.

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If you are planning on or in the process of divorcing your spouse, contact James D. Madden & Aruna P. Rodrigo today. Our San Bernardino divorce lawyers have the experience and skills you need in order to secure the outcome you deserve. We have gained a reputation as one of the premier family law firms in the San Bernardino area, and will work with you in order to create a plan of action that best suits your needs. Visit our website for a free assessment of your legal case, or call us at (909) 344-5704 to set up a meeting with one of our San Bernardino divorce attorneys.

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