How divorce affects key military spouse benefits

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2021 | Divorce |

If you are going through a divorce and wondering how it will affect the benefits you receive due to your status as a military spouse, you are not alone. This is something many people consider, and it can further complicate an already difficult process.

Health care

You are eligible to receive health care benefits if your marriage spanned at least 20 years, your spouse served at least 20 years and if those timeframes overlapped by 20 or more years. These benefits are lifelong if you do not remarry. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to receive temporary health care coverage for a certain period following your divorce.

Spousal maintenance

Similar to a civilian husband or wife, your military spouse may need to pay alimony. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) defers to the state law when deciding spousal support payments. The details of the order will depend on the statutes in the state where you file for divorce. However, because of the USFSPA, the order will remain in place and enforceable even if the servicemember gets deployed or relocates.

Retirement

The USFSPA classifies military pensions as assets in a divorce. This means that the divorce court will divide the servicemember’s retirement pay between both spouses. You qualify for a portion of the pension if you were married for more than 10 years and your husband or wife served in the military for at least 10 of those years.

Knowing your rights as a military ex-spouse can help ease some of the tension about your future following divorce.