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Military Divorce and Remarriage: Will I Keep His Military Pension?

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Dear Q&B,

My ex-husband and I divorced a few years ago. I received military benefits after the divorce, including Tricare, because I qualified under the 20/20/20 rule. I also am receiving half of his military pension.

I want to get remarried. Will I lose my military benefits and the pension if I do that?

-- Divorcee

Dear Divorcee,

We get a lot of questions about the 20/20/20 rule, military divorce and what happens after a former military spouse remarries.

Many military spouse divorcees qualify for benefits after a divorce under a policy known as the 20/20/20 rule. That rule says an ex-military spouse gets to keep some military benefits if their former service member served at least 20 years, they were married for at least 20 years and the marriage overlapped his or her service by at least 20 years. Under that rule, former military spouses may continue to receive Tricare benefits as well MWR and commissary and exchange privileges after a divorce.

The division of a military pension is an entirely separate issue. Military pensions are viewed under law as a "marital asset." During a divorce settlement, the court determines how much of the pension to divide. The Defense Department has very little, if anything, to do with that decision.

But what happens if a former military spouse remarries?

Military rules make it clear that when an ex-military spouse remarries, the non-monetary benefits he or she retained from her former service member spouse go away. That means if you remarry, you will forfeit Tricare, commissary, exchange or MWR privileges through your former spouse.

But because the division of the military pension is controlled by the court, not the Defense Department, how that is affected depends entirely on the divorce settlement. Under most circumstances, a remarriage will not change how or if an ex-spouse continues to receive a portion of the military pension. Generally speaking, a pension will end only if the service member dies.

One important note: We are not lawyers -- and it's always smart to check with one before making decisions that are linked to your divorce settlement or any legal issues.

Good luck!

-- Team Q&B

Related Topics

Benefits Family and Spouse