Military spouse benefits are one of the more complicated areas to discuss when considering a divorce. If you are a future military retiree, a current military retiree, or a spouse or former spouse seeking advice on this topic, here is some basic information you should know.

When getting divorced in California with potential military benefits on the table, it is a very good idea to seek experienced legal advice so you know how to proceed, and to understand the impact the divorce will have on you and your family.

In fact, it is imperative to engage the services of a divorce attorney for military members and spouses in San Diego or the surrounding areas, as they will understand the details of family law as well as how it pertains to military spouse benefits after divorce. 

The issues to look at include

How legal separation vs. divorce impacts military benefits 

In case of a legal separation judgment, the military recognizes that the parties are still married and therefore benefits will continue to the non-military spouse

Medical benefits when divorce is complete 

Medical benefits cannot be continued after a divorce but the former spouse can get post-divorce medical coverage very similar to COBRA benefits under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) for up to three years. To receive this benefit, the former spouse must pay for the monthly premium himself or herself. 

If the former spouse also gets some of the member’s retirement pay or is the beneficiary of a Survivor Benefit Program (SBP), this coverage could continue for life, but it can be expensive. You may also want to look into the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act for other potential benefits and coverage.   

Survivor benefit program (SBP) 

The SBP provides, for a lifetime, income for a surviving spouse in case of the death of a retired service member. The premiums vary and are elected during the retirement paperwork phase. If the surviving spouse remarries before age 55, the benefits will stop, but if they marry again after age 55 they will continue for life.  

Military retirement benefits 

Military retirement benefits accrue based on service members retiring with 20 or more years of service, with a multiplier based on that service and the last three years of pay. The former spouse can receive a portion of these benefits depending on whether there is what’s called a 20/20/20 or a 20/20/15 benefit, and continued health insurance benefits under Tricare are paid according to the length of marriage and service.  

Savings plans, such as the federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) 

This savings plan is very much like a public version of a 401K and provides similar benefits. 

No right to any portion of VA Disability 

If a service member is retired due to medical disability, this is not an asset that is divisible in a divorce and the former spouse cannot reach this benefit for any reason. 

Family housing 

Questions can also arise around the issue of the military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). The former spouse can remain in family housing only so long as they are not divorced. After the divorce, that party must vacate family housing.

ID cards for children 

Another aspect of military family law is child care coverage and benefits. Minor children of the service member and former spouse still retain their military I.D. cards and access to on-base facilities and benefits, including housing, and thus this is one benefit that can accrue to a former spouse. The parent/former spouse can reside in housing with the children who have their I.D. and the right to live in military housing.

It is important to discuss all these topics with the military spouse divorce attorneys you retain to help guide you through the dissolution of your marriage. Military family law can be complex when it comes to divorce, but an experienced attorney will be the key to getting through the process.

Contact JWB Family Law Today


    Connect With Us



    San Diego Office
    1620 Fifth Avenue, Suite 600
    San Diego, CA 92101

    Phone: 619.234.6123

    Temecula Office
    43537 Ridge Park Dr, Suite 100
    Temecula, CA 92590
    Phone: 951.297.3871

    El Centro Office
    300 S Imperial Ave, #10
    El Centro, CA 92243
    Phone: 760.460.4608


    Family Code Section 2030 and Its Role in Alleviating Financial Struggles in Divorce

    Within the intricate landscape of family law, Family Code Section 2030 assumes a pivotal role by addressing the economic imbalances that often surface during divorce proceedings. Its primary objective is to ensure that both parties embroiled in a divorce have...

    Tips for Protecting Your Financial Interests During a Divorce

    Tips for Protecting Your Financial Interests During a Divorce   Divorce is a challenging and emotionally charged process, often accompanied by numerous financial complexities. Protecting your financial interests during a divorce is crucial to ensure your future...

    How to Divide a Community Property Home?

    When individuals go through a divorce, they often contemplate selling their home quickly to divide their community property funds swiftly—an action that can be potentially costly. It's crucial not to sell the house until a written agreement has been established and...

    Child Support for Children with Special Needs

    Many individuals experience an increased likelihood of divorce when their marriage involves raising a child with special needs, be it due to conditions like autism or other medical issues. This heightened risk of divorce can be attributed to the significant stress...

    Federal Laws & Procedures Impacting Military Divorce

    Several federal laws are relevant procedurally when one or both spouses in a dissolution proceeding are members of the military. Although not every Act applies to every case, it is good practice to be aware of the federal laws and procedures that may impact your...

    A Detailed Breakdown of the Divorce Procedure

    Divorce is a challenging and emotionally charged process, often accompanied by numerous financial complexities. Protecting your financial interests during a divorce is crucial to ensure your future financial stability. In this blog, we will discuss several essential...

    The Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce

    Divorce is a significant life event that involves the legal termination of a marital union. It is a decision often accompanied by complex emotions, legal considerations, and a multitude of issues to be resolved. When pursuing a divorce and finding a divorce attorney...

    Common Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce Proceedings

    Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process that requires careful consideration and strategic decision-making. From navigating legal intricacies to managing the emotional turmoil, divorcing couples often find themselves overwhelmed and prone to making...

    Property Division in Divorce: What You Need to Know

    Divorce is a challenging and emotionally charged process, requiring careful consideration and resolution of various legal and financial matters. One critical aspect that often arises during divorce proceedings is property division.This encompasses a broad range of...

    How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer for Your Case

    Divorce is an emotionally challenging and legally complex process that marks the end of a significant chapter in one's life. When facing the dissolution of a marriage, it’s crucial to have the right legal representation by your side. A skilled and experienced divorce...