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Will I Lose VA Benefits if I Divorce My Veteran Spouse?

Published on December 5th, 2019

If you divorce your veteran spouse, you will automatically lose many, but not not necessarily all of your VA benefits. For example, you may be able to keep your military health insurance. But the main issue that is argued in divorce cases is usually the division of military retirement pay and the factoring of veterans disability compensation into alimony and child support payments. Depending on the circumstances of the divorce, a court may order your veteran former spouse to pay you monthly support that takes into account their income from their veterans disability compensation.

You May Keep Your Trident Insurance If You Don’t Remarry

Access to free or discounted healthcare is one of the most important benefits that veterans and their families receive. If you are a veteran’s spouse, you may be concerned that your divorce will affect your access to healthcare. Fortunately, there are circumstances under which you may keep your Tricare health insurance. Specifically, you may keep your healthcare if:

  • Your former spouse spent at least 20 years in the military
  • You were married to your former spouse for at least 20 years during the period of military service
  • You do not remarry
  • You do not receive private insurance from your employer

These circumstances are clearly meant to ensure that elderly ex-spouses do not find themselves without health insurance at a time in their lives where rejoining the workforce might not be possible. Similarly, the military guarantees continued access to the base supermarket and the post-exchange to unmarried ex-spouses of service members, whose marriages lasted more than 20 years during the service period.

You Can Get Access to Military Retirement Pay and Disability After the Divorce

Younger divorcees usually lose all of their benefits after the divorce. Lucky for them, divorce courts typically consider all of the veterans income–including pension and disability–in determining child support and alimony. So if your ex-spouse receives significant monthly income from veterans disability compensation, you were not at fault in the divorce, and you do not have significant income, it is likely that you will receive child support and perhaps alimony.

Unlike disability compensation, which in a divorce may only be considered for determining support payments, a military pension can be divided after a divorce. But you must have been married to the veteran for at least 10 years, and at least 10 of those years must have coincided with their military service. Disabled veterans with a rating of 40 % or less will see their pensions reduced because of their monthly disability payments. This can result in the former spouse receiving a smaller share of that pension. But in this case, courts have the ability to garnish disability compensation to ensure that alimony and child support gets paid.

Jackson & MacNichol Can Help With Veteran Spouse Benefits

Only veterans who receive a disability rating of 30% or more are entitled to receive additional compensation for their spouse and children. So an unfairly low disability rating can severely impact your family’s finances. At Jackson & MacNichol, we can challenge a low disability rating by appealing the VA’s decision and asking for the compensation you and your family deserve. For more information, call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation with a veterans benefits lawyer.


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