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Military identification cards and divorce

If you're married to a military servicemember and planning to get a divorce, you're probably wondering what will happen to your valuable military identification cards and the benefits that come with it. In the majority of situations, you will lose your ID card, but only after the completion of your divorce. There are also some exceptions.

If your military marriage is considered a 20/20/20 marriage, then your marriage endured 20 years, your spouse had 20 years of military service and your marriage had 20 years of overlap with the service. In this situation, you can retain full military benefits following your divorce, including commissary, base exchange, medical, etc.

If your marriage was a 20/20/15 marriage, then there were only 15 years of overlap. You will only get to retain one year of medical benefits following the divorce and nothing else.

Again, as spouse going through a divorce, you will retain your military ID card and benefits until the divorce is finalized. Under no circumstances, can your spouse confiscate your ID card at any time. Your military ID card and military benefits are granted to you under Congressional law. If your spouse attempts to take away your ID card, he or she could face larceny charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Military divorces are different than civilian divorces because they're governed by different laws. That's why spouses of military servicemembers may want to consult with a divorce lawyer who is experienced with military-related family law matters. Your lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and what to expect during your divorce process.

Source: The Balance, "Military Divorce and Separation," Rod Powers, accessed April 27, 2017

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