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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 19169
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I'm considering ending my marriage and have been married to

Customer Question

I'm considering ending my marriage and have been married to my husband with a total of 28 years but he retired in 2006 with 24 years. He joined the military in August 1988 he was active duty for three years and got out and then he went to reserve then went to AGR (Active Guard Ready) status in November 1988 to 2006. I want to know if am I eligible for Tricare, SBP (Survival Benefit Plan) and his Retirement pay. Not exactly sure how the 20/20/20 works.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Colorado
JA: Have you talked to anyone in the chain of command about this?
Customer: No!
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: These are the most important issues for me to be addressed at this time.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

The 20/20/20 rule pertains just to your ID card and Tricare rights. What is says is that you can have those benefits if your marriage was at least 20 years long, his service was at least 20 years long and your marriage overlapped 20 years of military service. Then you get those two benefits automatically.

The SBP is something that you are eligible to request, but whether or not you get it is up to the state court. It's not a right, no matter how long you've been married.

Likewise, whether or not you receive any portion of his military retirement is also a decision for the state court, which is permitted but not obligated to divide that retirement. Given the length of your marriage, it is highly likely that the court would divide it and grant you an award of the retirement though. The state has the authority to grant anywhere from 0% to 50% based on a formula of it's choose, or no formula at all, and none of those results would run afoul of the law on this issue. You just have to make a request to the state court that would be considering your divorce. Most commonly though, the courts use a formula that would take into consideration how much of your marriage overlapped the military service. If your marriage overlapped it all, chances are high you'd get 50% of the retirement.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

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