In previous blogs, I discussed limited post-divorce Tricare coverage available to ex-spouses after a military divorce. Two somewhat “informal” means of continuing coverage may require the servicemembers’ cooperation, but can make great sense in the right case.
Legal separation: There are few differences between divorce and legal separation in Wisconsin. One important difference is that many health plans, including Tricare, permit a separated, not divorced spouse to remain on the ex-spouse’s insurance coverage. Therefore, working out a legal separation instead of a divorce can be an important negotiating point for an ex-spouse faced with loss of health insurance.
A few points to consider: in Wisconsin, one spouse can convert a separation to divorce after one year. Neither spouse can remarry until the separation is converted to a divorce. Finally, there are military provisions (such as adultery) to consider under legal separation.
Timing of divorce: An ex-military spouse is entitled to continue Tricare coverage after 20 years of marriage overlapping with 20 years’ service of the member. Spouses considering divorce who are near this (or other relevant) time limits should consider the timing of filing and final divorce judgment. It would be well worth the wait of a few months, for example, to obtain a divorce if the ex-spouse could be guaranteed long-term Tricare.
We will continue discussion of military health benefits in upcoming blogs on Wisconsin military divorce.
Attorney Kowalski routinely represents military members and their spouses in Wisconsin divorce matters. Call anytime for a free consultation.