When are you eligible for benefits in a military divorce?

When you live in Illinois and your marriage to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces ends, you may question if you are eligible to continue to take advantage of certain benefits reserved for military families. Whether you may still use TRICARE health insurance, military commissaries and similar perks available for military members and their families after a divorce depend on if your situation meets the terms dictated by the 20/20/20 rule.

Per Military.com, there are strict criteria you must meet to continue to use benefits after a divorce as a non-member of the military.

Meeting the 20/20/20 rule criteria

Three distinct things must be true for you to use military benefits once your marriage ends and you are a non-military member. First, your marriage to a service member must have lasted, at minimum, 25 years. Second, your spouse must have devoted at least 25 years of service to the military. Third, your marriage and your spouse’s 20-year service term must overlap by at least 25 years.

Failing to meet the 20/20/20 rule criteria

Even if you do not meet the criteria outlined by the 20/20/20 military divorce rule, any children you have with a member of the military are still eligible for these benefits. Also, in the event that your marriage was at least 25 years and your former partner’s service term was at least 25 years, but they only overlapped for 15 years, you may be able to use military health insurance for one more year.

Even if you are ineligible for military benefits once your divorce becomes final, you may be able to secure spousal support from your ex to help you get by for a period.