Here’s some good news, regardless of how long a service member has been in or whether they retired from the military, their children can continue to have Tricare until they turn 21. However, if a service member leaves the military before they have enough service for retirement, their Tricare eligibility ends and so does their children’s.
Before anything else, though, they must get military dependent ID cards as soon as the divorce is final. That will help you make sure they can access the benefits they have.
In general, children do not get IDs until they are 10 years old. However, that rule is waived for children who do not live with an ID card holder. When your spouse (or you, if you still have the current power of attorney) apply for their ID cards, you will fill out a “remarks” section and note whether the service member is providing more than 50% of child support. Whether they are providing more than 50% changes which benefits the children can receive.
The rest of the benefits depend on that 50% statement. If they are providing more than 50%, the children can continue to use all Morale, Welfare & Recreation (MWR) benefits and base exchange stores. If less, they won’t have access to those things.
Unfortunately, dependent children of divorced service members are not able to use the commissary under their own ID cards regardless of how much support they receive.
If your divorce was to occur after he retired from the military with 20 years or more of service, and you had been married for at least 20 years with at least 20 years of your marriage overlapping his service, you and your children would retain all of your benefits after the divorce. (This is often referred to as the “20/20/20” rule.) If you were to divorce and your marriage had overlapped only 15 years of his service, your children would receive the same benefits as all other children of military divorces.
Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.