The military life can be a difficult one not just for the service member, but for the family too. Virginia is rife with military members and former military members and when there is a military divorce, there are certain factors that must be considered as the process moves forward. These factors can have a significant impact on their lives even after the divorce is finalized. Health coverage through TRICARE is a frequent cause for worry for the non-military spouse and children from the marriage. To understand how this will be affected, it is wise to have legal help from the beginning.

With TRICARE eligibility, the sponsor’s situation will not change. The biological children and adopted children will also retain eligibility until they reach an age or a circumstance in which they are no longer eligible. Services or supplies will not be paid for those who are ineligible to receive TRICARE. Once a spouse has lost his or her eligibility for TRICARE and payments have been made, it is possible that TRICARE will recoup that based on overpayments.

When the divorce is finalized, the former spouse will not have TRICARE benefits at 12:01 a.m. on that day. There are certain requirements based on the service member’s time in the military and the duration and overlapping of the marriage that can allow for the benefits to continue. These have been discussed previously and include the 20/20/20 rule and the 20/20/15 rule. Dates in which the divorce took place are also important. For those who do not fall into these categories, TRICARE will end.

For children, the biological child will stay on the sponsor’s TRICARE until they turn 21 if they are dependents and not in college and 23 if they are. Getting married or joining the military themselves will remove their eligibility. If there are stepchildren and they are adopted, they are considered the service member’s children. If they are not adopted, they will lose TRICARE when the divorce decree is complete.

Health care coverage is a constant worry for everyone and when there is a military divorce, the non-military spouse and children must know how the military benefits might change with the case. Having help from a law firm with extensive experience in military divorce is one of the most important steps in a case so all parties can be prepared. Calling for a consultation can provide information as to how to proceed.