Divorce in Virginia can be complicated and challenging regardless of the circumstances. For some people, however, other issues that must be considered. A military spouse should be aware of what his or her rights will be after a military divorce.
In a military divorce, these factors could be part of a case:
- Retirement pay
- A survivor benefit plan (SBP)
- Health coverage
- The right to retain base privileges
- How children are impacted
Regarding pay, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) divides the military retirement pay between the parties. The laws of the state will decide how much the former spouse receives. SBP can name a former spouse as the beneficiary. It must be requested in the first year of the divorce. If the non-military former spouse gets remarried before turning 55, it will end SBP.
Health coverage hinges on the 20/20/20 rule and the 20/20/15 rule. For the former, the couple must have been married for at least 20 years, the service member must have served for 20 years, and the two must have overlapped. The former spouse cannot remarry nor receive employment-related health care. With 20/20/15 and 15 years overlapping, the non-military spouse can receive a year of coverage. There is also a temporary health coverage called the DOD Continued Health Care Benefit option for 36 months.
Only those who fall into 20/20/20 can continue using the military base to shop and will retain full privileges with their military I.D. card. As this information suggests, a military divorce carries with it issues that are not part of a civilian divorce. To understand and address these and other concerns related to it, legal advice from a firm experienced in military law may be useful.