If you are a Hawaii resident considering divorce after years of marriage, you may be able to retain your military benefits depending on your specific circumstances. Retaining these benefits can help you navigate more easily through your post-divorce life.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) protects your rights
The USFPA does not automatically protect you in a military divorce. Rather, your marriage must meet specified conditions for various aspects of the divorce agreement. The act provides a method for enforcing your right to part of your ex-spouse’s military pay as well as child support. However, those terms must be specified in your divorce agreement.
You may also receive commissary, exchange, and health care benefits after a divorce when you meet the specified conditions. You can receive full benefits if you are a 20/20/20 former spouse meeting the following requirements:
Your ex-spouse served in the military for at least 20 years
Your marriage lasted at least 20 years
The time of your marriage overlapped military service by at least 20 years
In cases where your marriage overlapped only 15 years of military service, you are only entitled to full military medical benefits for one year after the divorce, after which you can purchase a DOD-negotiated conversion health policy. Ex-spouses who meet neither of those requirements are eligible for the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit Program, which provides up to 36 months of continued health care coverage until an acceptable alternative health care policy is obtained.
Accessing your rights as a military ex-spouse
Various organizations can provide you with information and assistance on what you are entitled to after divorcing your military spouse. Although you have some of the same concerns in common with other couples and facilities going through a divorce, your status as a military spouse places additional concerns on your situation.
Working with those who fully understand the implications of military divorce is essential. Make sure that you understand and get everything you are entitled to.