If you marry a military service member, you have access to his or her benefits. Once divorced, you may wonder what happens to those benefits. Do you lose the benefits automatically? Can you retain any of the benefits?
The Department of Defense explains what happens to the benefits that a military spouse receives after a divorce.
The effect on military benefits
When you divorce, you can keep your identification card, your health care benefits and your commissary benefits until the finalization of your divorce. When it comes to your installation family housing, however, you can lose that within 30 days of the service member leaving because of a divorce. If you have to move from an overseas duty station, the military may pay for your moving expenses. If you have to move in-state, you and your former spouse may decide on moving costs in the settlement. If you lose your healthcare benefits, then you can buy up to 36 months of temporary health care coverage.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
While many spouses of service members lose benefits, this is not the case for all. There is a Uniformed Services Former Protection Act that provides benefits to former spouses. These spouses do have to meet certain qualifications. The marriage had to last 20 years, the service member had to be in the military for at least 20 years and you had to be together during 20 years of the retirement-creditable service.
If you fit this rule, then you may be able to continue to receive commissary and exchange privileges, along with medical coverage. These benefits last until you remarry.