Generally speaking, military divorces are procedurally the same as civilian divorces. There are, however, a few other issues that may be a factor for the nonmilitary spouse. Many of these additional factors represent a considerable financial investment such as military pension payments, survivor benefits and thrift savings plans. These issues are best negotiated with the help of an experienced military divorce attorney. However, if for some reason you are more concerned with losing your base privileges after divorce, rest assured that this aspect of military divorce is much easier to understand.
The determination of certain privileges after a military divorce is based on what is commonly known as the 20/20/20 rule. This rule is designed to quickly identify which privileges the nonmilitary spouse is entitled to after divorce. The 20/20/20 rule takes into account the length of the marriage, years of active duty and overlapping time between marriage and service.
According to the 20/20/20 rule, a nonmilitary spouse may be entitled to keep their base privileges if they were married for at least 20 years, their spouse served for at least 20 years, and there was an overlap between marriage and service of at least 20 years. If all three of these requirements apply, a nonmilitary spouse may be entitled to keep their base privileges after divorce.
It is important to understand that even when eligible for base privileges under the 20/20/20 rule, certain restrictions apply. Eligible spouses are entitled to base privileges until they remarry. At that time, the 20/20/20 rule does not apply, and their privileges are revoked. Although the eligibility of base privileges is relatively easy to determine, it is always best to speak to a family law attorney experienced in handling military divorce when making important decisions.