20-year marriage required to keep military benefits

Q: A 20–20-20 question…I have a friend that is get­ting divorced. His retire­ment date is one day before he got mar­ried 20 yrs ago. He would like his ex to get 20–20-20 ben­e­fits, but alas the ser­vice is not into extend­ing any­thing one day for an ex-spouse to get ben­e­fits. Since retire­ment is one day before they got mar­ried does that mean she will not qual­ify? And, if not is there any­thing that can be done to “fix” it? Thanks!



A: In my expe­ri­ence the 20–20-20 rule is very firm. For those hear­ing “20–20-20” for the first time, it means that upon divorce an ex-spouse of a ser­vice mem­ber will receive full mil­i­tary ben­e­fits if they were mar­ried for 20 years, the mil­i­tary mem­ber served for 20 years that qual­i­fied for retire­ment, and the mar­riage and ser­vice over­lapped for 20 years. Over the years, I’ve heard hor­ror sto­ries about miss­ing one of the 20-year qual­i­fi­ca­tions by days…but until now, never a sin­gle day. I think the only hope is that the ser­vice would change his retire­ment date. If he feels that strongly, they could also remarry…

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35 responses to “20-year marriage required to keep military benefits”

  1. I was mar­ried to my X-wife for 26 yrs. Dur­ing that same 26 yrs.I was an offi­cer
    in the active reserves. Through a divorce decree she was entiled to 50 % of my mil­i­tary retire­ment pay. She remar­ried and her hus­band passed away 3 years later, she than received 50 % of his civil­ian job peni­son.
    Is she still entilded to the 50 % of my mil­i­tary peni­son.
    Ltc Bush

    1. A friend of mine was a Ltc, got divorced from his wife and she is enti­tled for the % from his retire­ment. She got remar­ried and still is enti­tled to the %.… I think she gets it for ever.…..

    2. My hus­band was mar­ried for 17 yeedars, his wife at the time walked out of the mar­riage left 2 chil­dren 8 & 12. She and received 50% of his retire­ment pay. After 3 years of being divorced and never con­tact­ing her chil­dren or pay­ing any sup­port, he took her to court to try to have the retire­ment pay changed he was informed that in the state of Col­orado retire­ment pay is con­sid­ered prop­erty there for not only was she enti­tled to receive 50% for the rest of her life, she is also enti­tled to Will her 50% to whom ever she wishes if she dies before him. Sug­ges­tion, check the States law before you get a divorce you may want to move.

  2. Is there any kind of pre exsist­ing health clauss to keep­ing Tri care if an ex spouse remarries

  3. served 20 years active duty and was mar­ried 17 years of that servi9ce and divorced 4 years after retire­ment makint the mar­riage 22 years wife got remar­ried and lost tri­care she si now divorced and we are plaan­ning to try again will the med­ical ben­fits be rein­stated to her as she again becomes a mem­ber of my household

  4. My hus­band took the early retire­ment option. Here­tired from the mil­i­tary with 15 years. We have been mar­ried for 21 years. What are my enti­tle­ments if we should get a divorce?

    1. No ben­e­fits so ever.…

  5. 20–20-20
    I think this LAW needs to be changed.…..
    the first two are not that easy to accom­plish but the last one it’s were they get every­body.
    I“m still mar­ried 21 years + the divorce is in progress.….have sev­eral health prob­lems
    I was mar­ried for 20 Years +
    My hus­band was more than 20 years in the ser­vice
    and now it’s were it gets me
    I was mar­ried with him for 18 years while he was in the ser­vice and it had to be 20 Years…in order to keep the ben­e­fits.….
    So also the % from his retire­ment is not 50 it will be 37.8% it’s again for 18 of mar­riage and it depends which code he gets the VA money under (60% dis­abled) those are all factors…don’t know the out­come yet.…but basi­cally u are scrude.… I“m not man­tion­ing what I had to go trough.…..

    1. Tanja,

      Your not screwed at all your get­ting 50% of his pen­sion for the 18yrs you sup­ported him as a mitli­ray spouse. The first two yrs he did it alone and deserves to not have to give away that part of his pen­sion, he earned it. As for the 60% dis­abil­ity, well thats not yours to share in. Its for his dis­abil­ity.
      I won­der what you con­tributed finan­cially all those years that he will recieve in your divorce.

      1. Agreed the 60% is his. But lets be hon­est if he’s any­thing like my retired hus­band, he woundn’t have half of it unless she fussed and cussed to get him to go to sick call. Usu­ally career sol­diers don’t go unless they are dead or dying or sick of hear­ing about it. Nonetheless…its his disability._

        1. Amazing…how spouse are treated that way. My mil­i­tary hus­band cheated on me and I saved his mil­i­tary career by not report­ing it because i thought about the family…I took care of our kids while is screwed around and treated me bad and told me just to let me do what I want…he once never wanted to go to counseling.…I feel this was a slap in the face only allow to keep Tri­care for 1 year…I am the one not want­ing the divorce, and now I only get­ting Tri­care for 1 year and now won­der­ing what i have to pay for the pre­mi­ums. He is cur­rently not shar­ing his retire­ment and is hav­ing a joy ride of spend­ing every penny when techi­cally he could help pay our debt off which i going to have to pay half for and he make about $25000 more a year then I do…so yes I am get­ting screwed.

          1. If you racked up debt you did it jointly, so just as assets are split 50/50 so is the debt. Don’t expect half his pay and not half the debt.

  6. sorry typo.….… are eas­ier to accomplish.….…..

  7. Your spouse did all the work, did the deploy­ments, served his coun­try. You want a divorce you should get ZERO!!!

    1. yes response from my view.… spouse did the work.…. we both did the deploy­ments him on ship me at home 3 kids by myself…he served his coun­try… I served mine by serv­ing him. he wants divorce after 20/20/19 (which left me screwed) yes I earned my (pen­sion) he screwed around I was faith­full.. I agree with other com­menter 20/20/20/ and or 20/20/15 should both be changed.… it is either you receive all of the benifits at divorce or only one yr of med­ical pro­vid­ing you dont already have some though you own place of work.. we divorce, I had to fight for my share of his pen­sion only got it though hard work with lawyer and com­mu­nity set­tle­ment… and FSPA which he wanted to to rele­quience dont do that dont ever do that.…

    2. How dare u while u serv­ing us wives r run­ning the home n being mom n dad to their chil­dren. This is a lot of work a lot of sleep­less nights. We r mak­ing sure that r chil­dren r safe.

    3. That’s a VERY WRONG atti­tude to have when it comes to the wife get­ting ZERO. If she was a loyal, faith­ful wife, took care of the kids while he was deployed, being both mother and father, and sup­ported him through­out his mil­i­tary career, then she is ENTITLED to the same ben­e­fits as he is. The 20/20/20 rule seri­ously needs to be changed to enti­tle spouses that have been mar­ried to the ser­vice mem­ber for at least 10 years to keep her ben­e­fits.
      She served time as a mil­i­tary spouse there­fore she should keep her benefits!

  8. Well here we go.. I truly do hope they pass the new retire­ment law for the mil­i­tary.. What does that mean for all you spouses out there.. You dont get a dime until your ex hus­band starts reciev­ing his retire­ment at the age of 59 1/2. If he elects to wait longer he can wait to 65 and get even more.. But my whole point is, NO MORE %%%% To the ex wife no mat­ter how longer your mar­ried.. By the time he gets that age, who really cares.… LOL… please please pass…My ex wife is gonna flip..LMAO

    1. we need more igno­rant peo­ple like you! LOL :)

    2. I’m a ex wife but why should I get screwed when I sat by him well he was deployed all them months being mother and after to are 3 boys and he was vis­it­ing other coun­tries and going out par­ty­ing and screw­ing around on me!!!!! I think you need to rethink your com­ment there sir!!!! I can see it if she screwed around on u but what if it was my sit­u­a­tion, some of u ser­vice mem­bers only think with 1 brain n it ain’t the top one!!!!! I grew up in a mil­i­tary town n seen so much with both sides, the Asian women where the worse, ships went out rings came off n at the bars they where n us faith­full wife’s at home taken care of reg­u­lar bus­niess should not be screwed!!!

  9. Yet you for­get! While you were being a “sin­gle” mom while he was deployed (train­ing or fight­ing a war) you were again “sin­gle” and back at home in the com­fort of a heated or AC home, with all the com­fors and “MONEY” he was mak­ing in mis­ery! Why do you feel you are still inti­tled to “HIS” money! He has already paid you well for your ser­vices !! You are inti­tled to ZERO!

  10. My ex decided he wanted a divorce after 19 yrs 10 1/2 months of being mar­ried while he was active duty. While he was run­ning around play­ing Com­mand Chief I was enter­tain­ing, act­ing as Adviser to the Spu­oses Club, vol­un­teer­ing, attend­ing mil­i­tary functions,working full time, rais­ing our 2 babies and he NEVER deployed or suf­fered any heat or was even in the line of danger…his entire career. I have stage 3 can­cer and just lost my 1 yr health ben­e­fits. Nice huh? Not to men­tion the other 33 pro­ce­dures I’ve had do endure dur­ing my time with that sociopath.

  11. I want know if I can get my shared of money we got mar­ried april,1990 and we been seper­ated since 1992 and we haven,t seen each other since then I was won­der­ing am i able to get any income from him because he’s get­ting extra money for being mar­ried he retired from national guard and we still legally mar­ried and I want to know ai I’m enti­tled to any thing from him.

    1. you were only with him for 2 years and you want money?!?! Get off your butt and get a job. If you haven’t seen him for 20 YEARS I’m will­ing to bet he got a by proxy divorce from you.

      If he’s national guard he won’t get a pay­check until 60 and there is no “extra money because he’s mar­ried” Stop being greedy you’ve had 20 years to plan your OWN retirement.

  12. my com­ment got deleted before it was even read!!!

  13. My fiancee was mar­ried to his ex wife for 20 year. so yes I know she qual­i­fies for 20–20-20 and will receive full ben­e­fits. I was told that in the case of death I will not get any of his ben­e­fits as the cur­rent wife that’s includ­ing his social secu­rity. The the first wife will get every­thing. Please help me under­stand what my rights are once we are married.

  14. No one mar­ries a ser­vice mem­ber for the money LOL (if your in and not an offi­cer you know we they dont make much) Gold dig­gers would run the other way

  15. My hus­band who is Active duty said,” I could never be a mil­i­tary spouse” I should have got­ten that in writing

  16. Its the hard­est mar­riage on the planet! You lose every­thing every 3 years, jobs, friends, loca­tion, and have no con­trol at all. Your just going along for the ride if you seper­ate the spouse from the ser­vice­mem­bers career the way some have said. Not nice!

  17. If you ask me there aren‘t enough ben­e­fits for spouses. The ones who stay with or the ones that divorce.

  18. Its lonely (until they come home) its hard rais­ing the kids with­out help and then tran­si­tion­ing the whole fam­ily dynamic yet again when they come home. I know! Im liv­ing it! Do not dare tell a spouse that she shouldn‘t con­sider her­self part of his carees. She is enti­tled to any­thing that is offered!

  19. I have been mar­ried to a vet­eran for 3 years, but I am now sep­a­rated. He doesn’t pay spousal sup­port. What can I do?

  20. I agree with every­thing you just told that jerk. I have 41 years of mar­riage to the retired ass hus­band. He now wants a divorce and i get the 50% of his pay but because he had 22 months in in active reserves I got screwed out of my med­ical ben­e­fits . And now he is 59 and going to marry a 35 year old. They dis­card us like a pair of old shoes. Shame they don’t die before you are divorced .

  21. When you go to the judge for the divorce get the sbp get Alimoney and your part of his retire­ment. That will help some and with can­cer you can get on Social Secu­rity Dis­abil­ity and after 2 years Medicare, you will need major med­ical until Medicare kicks in unless an excep­tion is made because of your con­di­tion. I am speak­ing from expe­ri­ence, I got the SBP just wish I had gone for Alimoney, and a Life insur­ance pol­icy on him as well. I too was mar­ried for 29 years with 19 years and 9 months of active duty time. The Mil­i­tary mem­bers for­get how we were their for them and took care of them. Shame on them! Would they have stayed in the Mil­i­tary for the 20 years if there was no reward for it at retirement?

  22. wow lady, you are a nut job…Frankly I’m glad your posts are being deleted. How­ever, if you took two sec­onds out of your com­plain­ing to do a lit­tle research you would see that it is a default of most blogs to auto delete com­ments when the threads get too long.

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