Friday, March 12, 2010

Military Divorce ,What do you need to know ?

 I am going to do a series of blogs on divorce in the military.Because I practice family  law in San Diego a big military town, I have had many  military clients . Military divorces do take some special legal  knowledge. In this series I will cover some basic question people need to know when divorcing in the military

Military divorces are often complicated by issues including military retirement pay,
government health insurance, and commissary/exchange benefits. We know that each
case is unique, and we hope to answer some of your general questions regarding
military divorce:

Where do I file for divorce?

Military divorces are controlled by state law, and must be handled in state court.
Divorces involving military members can be filed (1) where the military spouse resides,

(2) in the military spouse’s domicile/“home state” (selected by the military spouse even
though he/she may not live there currently), or (3) where the military spouse consents
to the jurisdiction by appearing in the case.
What about health insurance?

Health care coverage continues while the couple is in the process of separating and
divorcing. When the divorce is finalized, a former spouse may be entitled to military
health insurance depending on the length of the marriage and the military spouse’s
length of service during the marriage. If the military spouse served at least 20 years
during the marriage, then the former spouse is entitled to TRICARE and inpatient and
out-patient care at a military treatment facility.

In cases where the military spouse served 20 years in the military and was married for
20 years but the marriage overlapped the period of service by only 15 years, the former
spouse is entitled to full military medical benefits only for a transitional period of one
year following the divorce.
Former spouses who do not satisfy the above requirements (20/20/20 nor 20/20/15) are
not entitled to any military health benefits after a divorce. Military health insurance
coverage can, however, continue if it is part of a court order. The court order allows the
former spouse to be enrolled in his/her own right and pay his/her own premiums. If the
former spouse remarries before age 55, he/she is no longer entitled to military health
insurance. If the court does not issue an order for the continuation of coverage after
divorce, the former spouse is still entitled to 36 months of temporary insurance and the
former spouse must pay the premiums.
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