If your spouse is a military service member and you are facing divorce, will you retain any of the benefits you currently have as a military spouse?
Guidelines under the USFSPA speak to benefits eligibility based on the length of your marriage and your spouse’s military service.
About the USFSPA
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, or USFSPA, sets the guidelines for the continuing benefits due a former military spouse as well as his or her eligibility to receive a portion of the service member’s retired pay.
The 10/10 rule
In order for a former spouse to receive a portion of a service member’s retired pay, the court must award said portion as property in the final divorce decree. To be property, the duration of the marriage must have been at least 10 years. During that time, the service member must have completed a minimum of 10 years of military service creditable toward retirement eligibility. This is the 10/10 rule.
The 20/20/20 rule
If the former spouse can show that the marriage lasted for a minimum of 20 years, that the military member served at least 20 years creditable toward retirement and that the marriage overlapped this service period by at least 20 years, he or she will qualify for full commissary and exchange privileges and healthcare benefits. This is the 20/20/20 rule.
If the former spouse does not qualify for continued healthcare benefits, he or she can still receive coverage for up to 36 months under the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit Program. This is just one example of the federal regulations that apply in a military divorce.