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A Military Divorce: What is the 20/20/20 Rule?

Military Family Law

If you are in the military or your spouse is in the military in Kansas or Missouri, it is crucial to a successful outcome of your family law matter that you work with an attorney who is knowledgeable about military issues. At Pingel Family Law, we focus on cases involving military families as it is a way we can thank our service members and their family who fight for our freedom and make sacrifices on a daily basis to protect our freedom.

Serving in the military provides both, the servicemember, as well as his or her family members, including their spouse and children certain benefits and privileges. During the parties’ marriage, a military spouse enjoys many of the same privileges and benefits as a military servicemember. The military benefits and determining and dividing them can make a military divorce situation much more complicated in some situations, however. In some situations, the military spouse is uneducated about what benefits they are entitled to after the parties divorce. In other situations, fighting for military pension rights or continued healthcare coverage can be a significant issue in a divorce for a military family.

What is the 20/20/20 rule in the military?

This rule has three essential components. All three required components must be met for a military spouse to have access to the same benefits as the military servicemember:

  1. The parties must have been married for at least twenty years;
  2. The military spouse must have been serving in the military for at least twenty years;
  3. There must be twenty years of marriage during 20 years of the spouse’s military service;

If these three criteria are met, the military spouse is able to access all of the same benefits are the military servicemember for the rest of the spouse’s life, as long as they do not remarry. This allows the military spouse to receive Tricare health insurance benefits, commissary and exchange privileges, an entitled portion of the military servicemember’s retirement pay, among other benefits. Of further importance to note is that if the military spouse remarries, they may lose the benefits that they acquire as a military spouse. If the spouse’s entitlement to retirement funds is based on the 20/20/20 rule, the military retirement benefits they are entitled is paid direct to them by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). This allows the requirement that the spouses continue to have communication or interactions to administrate the retirement benefits to be eliminated or diminished.

What is the 10-Year Rule?

Even if a marriage is not of sufficient duration to meet the 20/20/20 requirements, the non-military spouse may still obtain direct payment of retirement benefits if the marriage lasted at least ten years that overlapped with ten years of military service.

How Do We Provide Solutions in Military Divorces?

While the 20/20/20 rule is fairly simple and straightforward requirement, many other aspects of military law related to family law cases are fairly complicated. It is crucial to a successful outcome in your military divorce or family law case that you work with a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the unique requirements of a military divorce. Every situation is unique but certainly having an attorney who has military family law experience can benefit your divorce case and help to maximize the opportunity for a successful outcome. Call Pingel Family Law at (816) 208-8130 to schedule your consultation today and find out how our knowledge and experience can benefit your case.

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