With having such a large Army installation close to Killeen, we are often asked how eligibility for a dependent ID card is changed by divorce. While a dependent of a service member, you may enjoy some privileges such as healthcare, commissary, and exchange access. Here, we will explain how those privileges change based upon a divorce from active duty soldiers. Reserve and National Guard dependent privileges may vary depending on the status of the soldier.
First, we have to identify who is a dependent of a soldier. In most cases a dependent of a soldier is the spouse and children under the age of 21 of the soldier. In certain circumstances, such as continual education and disability, a child may keep their dependent status past their 21st birthday.
Secondly, when do dependents receive their dependent ID cards and what happens to the cards upon divorce. Typically, military dependent ID cards are issued to spouses and children over the age of 10. Upon a divorce the amount of time the active duty member has served, number of years of the marriage, and overlap of marriage and time of service determines the benefits the divorcing spouse may claim. This is commonly referred to as the 20/20/20 rule. If a divorcing spouse has been married to the service member for 20 years, the service member has been on eligible active duty for 20 years, and the time married and time in service has overlapped for 20 years then the divorcing spouse is entitled to keep their healthcare, commissary, and exchange benefits. However, if the divorcing spouse does not meet these requirements then they will lose their commissary and exchange benefits and must forfeit their dependent ID card upon divorce. There are some exceptions for retaining medical benefits after divorce and not meeting the 20/20/20.
If there are children of the soldier and divorcing spouse then the child will still be eligible for a dependent ID card once the divorce is finalized. If the child is under ten years of age, an exception can be made through DEERS to have the child obtain a dependent ID card early. Contacting your local installations ID card office is the easiest way to determine how to obtain an early dependent ID card for the child.
Divorces involving military members can be complex. That is why it is imperative you obtain a divorce lawyer who has experience in dealing with issues that arise in military divorce cases. The best way to ensure that you retain all the rights you are entitled is to contact Killeen Family Law Attorney Barbara A. Weaver. Request your own FREE initial consultation with our law firm today to discuss your options.