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How Does a San Diego Divorce or Legal Separation Affect Tricare Benefits: 2019

TRICARE benefits are offered to military service members and their spouses and dependents. This is under Federal Law. An experienced family lawyer can assist with your case. In San Diego family law court, the Judge will make orders for child support and alimony and division of assets and division of debts but will not make orders for TRICARE coverage since the federal law is superior to California law. As insurance benefits are so important, below is some important information for spouses and parents going through a legal separation or divorce in San Diego. Doppelt and Forney, APLC is a law firm in San Diego with experience representing military members.

First, who qualifies for TRICARE?

TRICARE is a health program for the following but there are other categories and this is not all inclusive:

  • Uniformed Service families and member;
    Reserve and National Guard; this includes members of the following groups and their families:
    • Army National Guard;
    • Army Reserve;
    • Navy Reserve;
    • Marine Corps Reserve;
    • Air National Guard;
    • Air Force Reserve;
    • U.S. Coast Guard Reserve;
    • Survivors;
    • Former spouses;
    • Medal of Honor recipients and their families;
    • Others who are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System which is also known as DEERS.
Second, what does TRICARE cover?

TRICARE covers benefits including health care, dental care, mental health care, pharmacy, special needs and vision care. Verify your individual coverage as this can vary.

Third, how does a San Diego divorce or legal separation affect TRICARE?

TRICARE has some qualifying life events. These include divorce and annulment but does not include a legal separation. A marriage is also a qualifying event as is the birth of a biological child or legal adoption of a child and there are others. A legal separation does not terminate the legal status of “married” so the parties are still legally married but also legally separated. Most San Diego Family law cases are divorce of the parties and coverage continues until the divorce judgment is entered. There are two major reasons for electing a legal separation instead of a divorce. One of these reasons is for continued medical coverage of the non member spouse such as, for example, continuation of the TRICARE coverage for the non military member spouse. The other main reason is religious and there are still two countries which, in 2019, do not allow divorce: Philippines and Vatican City. After a divorce, the service member remains eligible as do the biological/adopted child or children. The non member spouse may continue to be eligible or may not and must check with TRICARE directly. One example of where a former spouse will keep their TRICARE benefits independent of the member spouse is under the “20/20/20" rue. Under the “20/20/15" rule, the non member spouse may keep TRICARE for one year after the divorce judgment. The non member spouse, even if eligible per the above rules, will lose TRICARE benefits if they obtain an employer sponsored health plan or remarry. This information, as with all articles on website, needs to be independently verified as rules and benefits and plans may change.

If you are going through a legal separation or divorce in San Diego, the law office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experienced attorneys available to represent you. Their law firm offers you a consultation in their office up to 30 minutes which is confidential and free. You can call 800-769-4748 to schedule. You can discuss TRICARE benefits as well as any other issues your case has such as the parenting plan or division of military retirement and other assets and debts. Feel free to bring a list of questions and the attorney will do their best to answer.

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