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What is the 20/20/20 Rule in Military Divorce?

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The 20/20/20 Rule refers to a federal law that awards certain benefits to divorced military spouses even though they are no longer considered a “dependent” or “mil spouse.”  The 20/20/20 Rule benefits do not cost the military spouse anything.  The spouse receiving the 20/20/20 benefits will receive the benefits so long as he/she does not remarry.  If he/she does not remarry, they will enjoy the benefits for life.  To qualify for the 20/20/20 benefits, the following must have occurred:

  1. 20 years married; AND
  2. 20 years of service; AND
  3. 20 year overlap of marriage AND military service.

20/20/20 Benefit – TRICARE Medical Coverage

TRICARE is a major benefit of the 20/20/20 rule. After registering under their own name, the military ex-spouse will be allowed to keep TRICAREmedical coverage.  Specific paperwork is required to assure this benefit is received and an experienced attorney can assist.

20/20/20 Benefit – Military ID

Another 20/20/20 benefit is the retention of a Military ID card.  The military ex-spouse will be allowed to retain their military ID, which can be used at on military installations, or at any location/businesses which honors military ID’s such as: commissary facilities, Base Exchanges, and private business that offer military discounts.

What about Retirement Pay?

The division of military retirement pay falls outside of the 20/20/20 rule.  This decision will be determined by Colorado laws and are not affected by the 20/20/20 rule.

What about Children?

The minor children of a military member are not affected by the 20/20/20 Rule.  The minor children will continue to receive their military benefits under the military parent.


Burnham Law has expertise in military divorces.  Military divorces require specialized knowledge that few family law attorneys possess.  Military divorces not only work under the laws of Colorado, but many Federal laws are also involved.  Some of the Federal laws are unique only to military divorces and are rarely, if ever, used by an attorney who does not consistently handle military divorces.

The benefits of the 20/20/20 rule are substantial, and an experienced attorney could be vital to your case.  For example, if you miss the 20-year requirement by even one day, the 20/20/20 Rule benefits are not allowed.  An attorney can help you strategize to maximize benefits for your family.  Having an attorney who is experienced in military divorce can be vital to your case and future benefits.

Burnham Law has a long history of experience with military divorces.  With offices located near Colorado’s major military bases, Burnham Law has the expertise and experience to handle your military divorce.

If you or a loved one is involved in a military divorce, contact us today to get the help you need by calling (303) 990-5308.

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