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San Antonio, TX Family Law and Military Divorce Blog

Friday, March 20, 2015

Military Divorce: Myth #5, TRICARE Coverage Can Be Ordered by the Court

In this installment of military divorce myths, we'll look at the belief that a court can order the servicemember to provide TRICARE coverage for a former spouse.  False.

There is nothing a court can do to create or deny TRICARE coverage for a former spouse.  Whether a former spouse qualifies for TRICARE coverage is established in Federal law.  There are two rules under which the former spouse may qualify based on the length of the marriage/military overlap -- the "20/20/20" rule and 20/20/15" rule.

The 20/20/20 rule requires at time of divorce the following:

  • The servicemember has at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay;
  • The former spouse has been married to the same sponsor/service member for at least 20 years; and,
  • All 20 years of marriage overlapped the 20 years of creditable (Active or Reserve) service which counted towards the servicemember's retirement.

Former spouses qualifying under the 20/20/20 rule are eligible for TRICARE coverage in their own name after divorce.  Eligibility is lost if the former spouse remarries or purchases coverage under an employer-sponsored plan.

The 20/20/15 rule requires at time of divorce the following:

  • The servicememeber has at least 20 years of creditable service towards determining retirement pay;
  • The former spouse has been married to the same sponsor/service member for at least 20 years; and,
  • At least 15 of those years overlap the 20 years of creditable (Active or Reserve) service which counted towards your sponsor's retirement.

Former spouses qualifying under the 20/20/15 rule are eligible for TRICARE coverage in their own name for one year after the date of divorce.  Eligibility is lost in the same manner described above.

Speak with a qualified military divorce attorney if you have questions.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm.  The Cramp Law Firm provides a spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region. 

 

 


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