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A former spouse who was married to the servicemember for at least 20 years qualifies for military benefits after the dissolution, under the conditions listed below.

If the couple obtains a decree of legal separation (which Colorado offers), that time of legal separation counts as marriage for purposes of these rules.  So if the former spouse is close to achieving 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 status, it may be worth having a period of legal separation before the dissolution itself.  Consult with a family law attorney, knowledgeable in military issues, for specific advice about your situation.

Eligibility is under the former spouse's own SSN, not the servicemember's SSN, so the former spouse should contact DEERS to advise of the dissolution, and arrange for the change in "sponsor."

Finally, health coverage is medical only, not dental.  And unless the former spouse pays an annual premium of $230, the coverage is the equivalent of Tricare Standard, not Tricare Prime.

 

Full Benefits ("20/20/20" Rule)

Pursuant to 10 U.S. Code §1072(2)(F), a former spouse of a servicemember is defined as a dependent, and therefore entitled to all military benefits and installation privileges, including medical, commissary, military exchanges (PX/BX), etc.

Former spouses who meet these criteria are covered:

  1. Married to the servicemember at least 20 years,
  2. The servicemember had at least 20 years of creditable service, and
  3. There were at least a 20-year overlap between the marriage and the military service.

 

Transitional Benefits ("20/20/15" Rule)

Pursuant to 10 U.S. Code §1072(2)(G) & (H) , a former spouse of a servicemember is defined as a dependent for purposes of military medical care only, and entitled to one year of transitional medical benefits.  The benefits do not include other military benefits, such as commissary, PX/BX, etc.

Former spouses who meet these criteria are covered:

  1. Married to the servicemember at least 20 years,
  2. The servicemember had at least 20 years of creditable service, and
  3. At least a 15-year overlap between the marriage and the military service.

 

Suspension of Benefits

  • Medical benefits are suspended while the former spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan.
  • Medical benefits terminate upon the former spouse's remarriage.
  • Commissary, military exchange (BX/PX) and other installation privileges (20/20/20 spouses) are suspended while the former spouse is remarried, but reinstated upon the remarriage terminating due to death or dissolution.

 

Have a military divorce case? Deployed? Black & Graham can help.

(719) 328-1616

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