When you marry a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and that marriage winds up going downhill, you may make plans to part ways and begin initiating the divorce process. Military divorces often differ from standard civilian divorces in several key areas. If you are a non-servicemember divorcing a member of the military, you may have important questions about your benefits.

During your military marriage, you may have become accustomed to utilizing certain benefits reserved for military families. For example, you and your family probably took advantage of Tricare insurance, and you likely also utilized military commissaries to do your grocery and other shopping at a reduced rate. Once your marriage to that member of the military officially ends, though, are you still able to take advantage of these benefits?

The 20/20/20 rule

Unfortunately, most of the time, you cannot use these benefits any longer after your military marriage ends. There is an important exception, however, and it involves the 20/20/20 rule. Just what is the 20/20/20 military divorce rule? Essentially, the 20/20/20 rule dictates that you are only able to maintain military benefits eligibility post-divorce if your marriage was at least 20 years long, your former spouse’s term of service was at least 20 years long, and the marriage and the service term overlapped by at least 20 years.

Children retain benefits

It may trouble you to discover that, unless your situation meets these distinct terms, you are going to lose your access to military benefits after your divorce. However, there is some good news. Any children you share with your ex who is a military member should continue to utilize Tricare and other military benefits even after your divorce.

While you are not going to be able to utilize military benefits after divorce unless you meet the terms of the 20/20/20 rule, you may still receive assistance from your former spouse in other ways, depending on circumstances.