What Happens to Your Military Benefits After You Divorce?

Anybody who has been through a divorce knows that there are a lot of complex issues involved — and a lot of changes will happen.

There are some added complexities associated with a military divorce, though. One issue of particular importance to divorcing military spouses is what happens with their military spousal benefits when they divorce. This includes health insurance, subsidized housing and on-base benefits. 

What becomes of your military identification card when you divorce?

As a service member’s spouse, you’re likely fully aware of the power that your military identification card carries with it. It serves as your health insurance card and entitles you to access virtually any military base and its many different amenities, including the gym, library, commissary and the exchange. It also entitles you to discounts reserved exclusively for service members and their families off base. 

Your military spousal ID is the property of the U.S. government. Article 121 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice may allow a service member who takes away a civilian spouse’s military ID during a dispute, separation or divorce to face larceny charges. There’s a strong likelihood that the U.S. government will request that you return your ID once your divorce is final.

Instances in which you may be able to retain your military ID and associated privileges following a divorce include:

  • You were married to your service member spouse for at least 20 years, and
  • Your spouse is a veteran who qualifies for retirement, and
  • Your marriage and your spouse’s military service overlap by at least 20 years.

You are only eligible to retain your medical benefits for a year following the divorce’s finalization if your marriage and your ex’s service only overlapped by 15 years. 

What becomes of on-base or subsidized housing in a divorce?

The U.S. government only allows service members to reside in on-base or subsidized housing. They prohibit a service member from evicting their spouse or children during a dispute, separation or impending divorce, though. Government officials may require you to move upon your divorce’s finalization, though. 

As a civilian spouse, you may feel crippled by the fact that your housing, health insurance and other benefits that you rely on are on the line now that you’re preparing to divorce. A divorce attorney can walk you through what to expect so you can make future plans. 

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