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What happens to a military spouse’s TRICARE benefits during divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2023 | Divorce

Being married to someone who serves in the military inspires a multitude of challenges. But, being a military spouse also comes with some perks – like TRICARE insurance coverage.

Health insurance may not be at the top of your list of concerns right now, if you’re grappling with a decision to divorce. However, it should be if you’re a civilian who has relied on your spouse’s TRICARE for your health insurance.

Understanding the 20/20/20 and 20/20/15 rules

Continuation of TRICARE coverage for former military spouses after a divorce is final depends on:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • How many years of creditable consecutive service the servicemember has had
  • How many years those two overlapped

If all three of these are at least 20 years, you can continue receiving TRICARE coverage under your spouse’s “sponsorship” unless you remarry. That’s called the 20/20/20 rule.

If the length of your spouse’s service and the marriage are at least 20 years and the overlap is at least 15 years (but under 20), you qualify under the 20/20/15 rule for one year of continued TRICARE coverage after your divorce is finalized.

Regardless of which rule you qualify for continued coverage under, there’s still some red tape involved. You’ll need to get the insurance under your own Social Security number, for example. Note that children remain covered under their military parent’s TRICARE plan until they age out.

Knowing whether you’ll be able to continue to get TRICARE coverage, get health insurance coverage through your employer or choose a plan at Get Covered New Jersey is important for your post-divorce budget planning. Having a clear idea of your expenses will help you better negotiate your property division and spousal support agreements. Seeking experienced legal guidance can you maneuver these and other unique divorce challenges that military spouses face.