Will Divorce Affect My Military Benefits?

From a legal point of view, military divorces are the same as civilian divorces. The process is the same, but there may be additional factors that can complicate your military divorce. As a military spouse, you may be entitled to certain benefits, even after divorce. Here is what you should know about your benefits in a military divorce.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA)

The USFSPA is a federal statute that affects those in the military, as well as their spouses. The statue addresses many aspects of divorce, including the non-military spouse’s continuing eligibility for commissary, exchange, and healthcare benefits, as well as their eligibility for a portion of the service member’s military retirement benefits.

Military Pensions

Military pensions are not handled the way civilian pensions are, and can be difficult to divide in a divorce. In order to be eligible to receive direct retirement payments through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), you must have been married to your military spouse for at least 10 years, which must have overlapped for 10 years of service. You may not need to be eligible for DFAS payments to still receive a portion of your spouse’s military pension, however.

Under the USFSPA, military pensions can be divided as a part of your divorce. If the pension is divided, either by agreement or court order, you are eligible for that share. The maximum share of a military pension you can claim is 50%.

Base Privileges

Base privileges, such as commissary, exchange, and theater privileges are dependent on the 20/20/20 rule:

  • You and your spouse were married for at least 20 years.
  • Your spouse was in the military for 20 years.
  • Your marriage overlapped the time in service by 20 years.

If these three requirements apply, you will retain your full base privileges, unless you remarry. If you remarry, you will lose your base privileges.


TRICARE also uses the 20/20/20 rule. If you meet the 20/20/20/ rule requirements, you will be eligible for TRICARE, unless you remarry. If you do not meet the 20/20/20 rule, you may still qualify for transitional coverage under TRICARE. The 20/20/15 rule is required for transitional coverage. This rule requires that:

  • You were married to your spouse for 20 years.
  • Your spouse was in the military for 20 years.
  • Your marriage overlapped their service time by 15 years.

If you qualify, you will be eligible for TRICARE coverage for 12 months after your divorce, provided you don’t remarry before this period ends.

Speak with an Annapolis Military Divorce Attorney - (410) 593-0040

At the Law Office of Nicholas T. Exarhakis, we are well-versed with the complexities of military divorce. Our Annapolis military divorce lawyer can help you understand the laws that pertain to your divorce case, and we can help you get the resolution you desire for your divorce. Don’t hesitate to get help.

Schedule a free case evaluation with our team today. Contact our offices online, or call (410) 593-0040.