20/20/20 Rule

The 20/20/20 Rule

How Does a Military Divorce Differ from a Traditional Divorce?

Although a military divorce is handled much the same as a traditional divorce in Jacksonville, Florida, there are a few key differences that separate the two. Specific laws have been enacted, on both a state and federal level, which are designed to protect the members of the military while they are serving on active duty.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), for example, was designed to protect service members against default divorce judgments—as this would prohibit the other party in the divorce from initiating proceedings without informing the other spouse. On the opposite side of the coin, however, several "rules" have also been put into place that help the spouses of active and retired service members to recover certain benefits during the separation, including the 20/20/20 Rule and the Ten-Year Rule.

Understanding the General Purpose of the 20/20/20 Rule

When undergoing a military divorce, the spouse of the service member may be entitled to certain retirement benefits. In order to determine whether or not they qualify, however, they must meet the requirements of the 20/20/20 Rule—the first being that the divorce involves a retired military veteran and a dependent spouse. Essentially, this is just a way to determine whether or not the service member's former spouse is a dependent, as this would mean that they would be entitled to all of the same military benefits—including healthcare and commissary privileges. This rule has been implemented, however, as a way of minimizing the amount of people who are entitled to the military benefits that are provided to members of the military and their spouses—as it must be shown that the marriage was long-lasting.

What is the 20/20/20 Rule for Military Spouses?

The 20/20/20 Rule has been implemented to limit eligibility in regards to military benefits. This means that the ex-spouse of a retired military veteran must meet certain requirements in order to secure these benefits. These requirements are quite simple, as they quite literally take after the name:

  • The first "20" refers to the number of years that the couple must have been married. If they have been married for any less than 20 years, the spouse may not be entitled to full benefits.
  • The second "20" refers to the number of years that the retired veteran must have served with the military, as they must have at least 20 years of service creditable towards retirement.
  • Finally, the last "20" refers to the number of years in which the marriage overlapped with the term of service. If any of these requirements are not met, the spouse will not be able to recover full military benefits.

Contact a Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer if You Still Have Questions!

Still have questions about military divorce or the 20/20/20 Rule? If so, we urge you to contact the Jacksonville divorce attorney at Charles E. Willmott, P.A. today. There are several different facets of a military divorce that can prove to be quite complex, so I make sure that you are fully informed and aware of your rights—as either a service member or the spouse of a service member. For this reason, you should not hesitate to pick up the phone and call the firm today.

By calling (904) 849-5183, you will have the opportunity to acquire the answers that you are looking for—it is up to you, however, to take the first step.

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