What you can expect to happen with your military benefits once you divorce

| Dec 28, 2020 | Firm News

Navigating the divorce process can be complicated. If one of you is in the military, this can add an extra layer of complexity to the mix. It’s common for servicemembers and their civilian spouses to have questions about child custody and support and their right to military benefits such as subsidized housing, health insurance and pensions once a judge finalizes their divorce.

How divorce impacts the use of your military identification card

No matter whether you’re a servicemember or a civilian spouse, you likely understand that your military identification card (ID) carries with it many privileges. It allows you to easily access on-base amenities. It serves as your health insurance card and can also qualify you to receive special benefits in the civilian world.

Your military ID card belongs to the U.S. government, though. Article 121 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits servicemembers from depriving their civilian spouse of their military ID card. Any member of the armed forces that does this may face larceny charges.

The U.S. government generally requests that a civilian spouse returns their military ID once a judge finalizes a couple’s divorce. There are some exceptions to this rule, though. Any civilian spouse married to a servicemember for 20 years or more may retain their ID. The spouse of any veteran who qualifies for retirement may also be eligible to keep their military ID. Their marriage and the servicemember’s service must have at least a 20-year overlap to do so, though.

If there’s only a 15-year overlap between your servicemember’s spouse’s military service and your marriage, then you, as the civilian spouse, would only be eligible to receive one year of medical benefits starting from the date you finalize your divorce.

What happens with your access to on-base housing when you divorce?

Government officials only allow its servicemembers to reside in its on-base housing. There are select residences where soldiers can live with their spouses or dependents. Servicemembers cannot lawfully evict their husband or wife or kids. The government may require a civilian spouse to move out soon after a judge finalizes your divorce case.

The prospect of losing your access to on-base housing and other military benefits can be challenging to handle. A divorce attorney who has significant experience working with other Jacksonville military families can help you protect your interests as you two move forward in your Florida case.