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Divorcing a spouse in the military? Find out if you can keep your benefits.

Going through a divorce involving a spouse in the military can leave you anxious with many unanswered questions. While you may not know now exactly how asset division or custody arrangements will pan out, you can gain some certainty by knowing a bit about the law.

A major issue you can confirm early is whether or not you will be able to keep your military benefits after the divorce. There is great confusion over the right of an ex-spouse to use certain benefits and privileges that the servicemember spouse enjoys as a benefit of employment. If parties are married for twenty years that overlap twenty years of military service, the non-military former spouse retains the right to enjoy certain privileges. These include the right to retain a military identification card which gives access to the on-base grocery store and the base exchanges (BX/PX). Also, it permits the former spouse to continue using TRICARE, the medical insurance plan for military members.

Consumer benefits

The on-base grocery store is known as a commissary. There are about 240 base commissaries around the world. They offer products at a reduced cost. In fact, Congress requires that the products be offered at cost.

The BX/PX is a shopping center, and has a wide variety of products similar to a Wal Mart. Again, the products are sold at cost.

Medical benefits

TRICARE is the medical insurance offered to members of the military and their dependents. It is accepted just like other insurance plans and tends to have little or no deductibles or co-payments. It is considered very good insurance.

How do you know if you qualify to keep these benefits?

When getting divorced, if you meet the 20/20/20 test, you are entitled to these rights under federal law. Your ex-spouse cannot deny you these privileges.  A family law attorney with experience handling divorces involving military servicemembers can help you navigate through your rights so you can plan for your future.”