Does a military spouse retain military benefits after a divorce?
Yes, but it depends upon the number of years of service the military spouse has and the number of years of marriage during this service.
Let’s consider a typical situation -- a military spouse who is the husband, a civilian spouse who is the wife. The military spouse is in his first enlistment and is no where near normal retirement. When the couple divorces, the wife is no longer a military spouse, so she loses her military entitlements that include base housing or housing allowance, commissary privileges, post exchange (or PX) privileges, and on-base or post medical care.
Now, let’s consider the situation of the so-called Army wife -- a woman with a long-term marriage to a 20-year career soldier. She may be able to retain her rights to future medical care and insurance, just not on base. Under USFSPA, former military spouses are eligible for full medical, commissary and exchange privileges if 1) the spouses were married for a least 20 years; 2) the military spouse performed at least 20 years of creditable service for retired pay and 3) the military service and the marriage overlaps for 20 years.
Reduced benefits are also available under certain conditions, for example, when the marriage is less than 20 years old.