Tricare is the U.S. military’s health care program and provides health care for millions of current and former members of the military and their families. Continuation of this coverage may be vital for military families in a divorce.
Divorce and children
After a military divorce, a civilian spouse may be ineligible to keep all their benefits. But their children may continue to receive Tricare benefits under certain circumstances.
Children of service members are eligible for Tricare benefits until their 21st birthday or for a longer time if they are a student or an incapacitated child. However, if a service member leaves the military before they have enough service to qualify for retirement, that servicemember and their children’s Tricare eligibility ends.
Children should get their military dependent identification cards when the divorce is final to help assure that they can access any benefits for which they qualify. Although children do not usually obtain ID cards until they are 10, they may acquire these cards if they do not live with an ID card holder.
A spouse or servicemember with power of attorney applying for ID cards should complete a remarks section and state whether the service member is providing over 50% of child support. Providing that more than 50% changes the benefits that children may receive. For example, children can continue to use morale, welfare & recreation benefits, and base exchange stores if that 50% threshold is met.
Dependent children of divorced members of the military; however, may not continue to use the commissary with their own ID cards regardless of the amount of support they receive.
Under the 20/20/20 rule, the non-service spouse and their children may keep all military benefits after divorce. This rule applies if a divorce occurs after a servicemember retired from the military with at least 20 years of service, and the spouses were married for at least 20 years with at least 20 years of that marriage overlapping service.
Children may receive the same benefits as children of military divorces if the marriage overlapped only 15 years of service.
Federal and Georgia laws govern many aspects of military divorce. Attorneys can assist spouses through this often-complicated process.