Tampa military divorce

Military Divorce: Can I Keep My Military ID Card?

For non-military spouses, military IDs can be revoked if specific qualifications are not met.

Due to Tampa’s close proximity to MacDill Air Force Base, plenty of divorcing couples have questions regarding how a spouse’s military service impacts the divorce. One common question we hear spouses ask is whether they will remain eligible for a military dependent ID card after the divorce.

Military service members earn special privileges with their ID card, which can be passed on to legal dependents and spouses. Privileges granted with a military ID card include:

  • The ability to enter military bases
  • Shopping at base commissaries that offer lower prices
  • Access to medical care and treatment
  • Child care services
  • And more

What happens to these spousal benefits when a Florida non-military spouse divorces a service member? As a general rule, a non-military spouse will lose their military ID card once the divorce is finalized. By extension, the privileges granted by the ID card will be lost as well. There are, however, two exceptions to this rule that will allow a non-military spouse to keep their military ID after a Florida divorce.

The “20/20/20” Non-Military Spouse

The so-called 20/20/20 rule grants full military ID benefits to a former spouse if:

  • The parties were married to one another for 20 years or more
  • The service member accrued at least 20 years of military service that is creditable for retirement pay
  • There was at least 20 years of overlap between marriage and military service
  • The former spouse has not remarried

If each of these conditions are met, then a finalized divorce will not prevent the former spouse from enjoying the benefits and privileges of their military ID card.

The “20/20/15” Non-Military Spouse

There is one additional exception that will keep a non-military spouse from losing their military ID privileges. This exception is the 20/20/15 rule, which provides that a former spouse may keep only their medical benefits — but not other privileges such as shopping at the commissary or receiving access to child care services. This exception applies when:

  • Both parties were married for a period of 20 years or greater
  • The service member accrued 20 years or more of military service that is creditable towards retirement pay
  • There was a 15-year overlap of military service and the marriage

Assuming these conditions are met, the non-military spouse is permitted to one year of medical benefits after the divorce, annulment or marital dissolution. Additionally, children who live with a former spouse may still be eligible for ID card benefits, even if the former spouse is not eligible. In such instances, the child (military dependent) may access the benefits and services permitted based upon their dependent status.

If you have questions regarding military ID benefits post-divorce, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]