Maggio Law Firm, PC

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What are my health care options after a military divorce?

Military divorce is not like divorce in the civilian world. Because of the nature of the armed services and the various special benefits that are offered to recruit and retain personnel, a lot of factors that might not come into play in a civilian situation in Mississippi have to be taken into account.

The setting of spousal and child support can be a challenge, especially if the non-military spouse is stateside and the service member is stationed overseas. The standards and calculations that apply will depend on the state of residence of the spouse that is filing for the divorce, so a full understanding of the jurisdictions involved is important.

One of the major questions that often surfaces related to military divorce is what happens with health care? The active military spouse continues to have access to treatment within the system, but what happens to the non-military spouse? The answer is that there are two likely options.

One falls under what is known as the 20/20/20 rule. If the parties have been married at least 20 years in the course of the service member fulfilling 20 years of active service, then no-cost coverage under the military's TRICARE program can continue for the non-military ex-spouse.

If that spouse is working and has primary coverage through his or her employer, TRICARE becomes a second payer of benefits. And if the ex-spouse remarries before reaching the age of 55, TRICARE coverage ends.

Under the second option, a spouse who isn't eligible for TRICARE may be able to obtain temporary coverage for up to 36 months under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.

With all that is at stake and the complexity of the systems that have to be navigated within the military infrastructure and the state courts, it is always wise to have help from an experienced attorney.

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