As a Tennessee resident navigating your way through a divorce from a servicemember, you may be trying to figure out where you will live and how you plan to support yourself once the divorce becomes final. You may, too, be wondering whether you will still be able to take advantage of certain military benefits, such as TRICARE insurance and use of military commissaries, once you and your one-time partner split.
Unfortunately, unless you and your situation meet very clear, distinct circumstances, you will probably not still have access to military benefits after divorce. You may, however, be able to pursue alternative solutions to meet your needs if you do not meet the criteria outlined by the 20/20/20 military divorce rule.
Understanding the 20/20/20 rule
Chances are, you became accustomed to using TRICARE insurance for medical coverage and the military commissary for grocery shopping and related needs. However, these benefits are typically available exclusively for military members and their families, and you can only continue to utilize them, post-divorce, if you meet the guidelines set by the 20/20/20 rule.
Essentially, the rule states that your marriage to your military servicemember must have lasted 20 years or longer, and that your servicemember spouse also served at least 20 years in his or her military branch. Additionally, that 20-year marriage and your spouse’s 20-year service term must also overlap by at least 20 years in order for you to retain military benefit eligibility after your split.
In the event that your marriage lasted 20 years or longer and your partner’s service term lasted 20 years or longer, but the two periods only overlapped by 15 years, you may be able to qualify for one additional year of TRICARE coverage.
Remember, even if you do not qualify for military benefits after your divorce, you may be able to pursue alternative solutions to meet your needs.