When you divorce your spouse and your former partner is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may face unique considerations that those in non-military divorces may not. You may, too, have questions about whether you might still be eligible for military benefits once your marriage comes to an end.
Ultimately, whether you have any claim to your former spouse’s retirement pay, military health insurance and similar benefits depends on a number of factors.
Assessing retirement pay eligibility
When you split from a military member, you do not automatically gain access to a part of his or her retirement pay. In some cases, you may receive some of it as part of your divorce settlement. In the absence of such a settlement, you may be able to gain access to retirement benefits under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. To be eligible, your marriage must have lasted 10 years or longer, and your spouse must have had at least 10 years of military service within that timeframe.
Assessing eligibility for other benefits
You may also wonder whether you may continue to use the commissary or utilize military health insurance once your marriage to a military member ends. To do so, your marriage must have lasted at least 20 years, and your former spouse must have served at least 20 years in the military. Also, his or her service term and your marriage must have overlapped by at least 20 years in order for you to continue to use these benefits.