There is no denying that divorce tears families apart. Divorce is devastating for the couple separating but also for children who were born from the marriage. But what about if you are in the military? How will your divorce affect your children’s military benefits?
Former Military Spouses
A former military spouse who is a civilian will usually lose all of their military benefits unless they meet certain criteria. But for couples who were married for a relatively short period of time (less than 15 years) all benefits will cease. Once the active duty member has a copy of their divorce decree, they will need to update their family information in DEERS and remove the name of their former spouse. But, former military spouses may worry in case their loss of benefits will in any way impact their children’s benefits too.
A divorce will automatically change the status of the couple, particularly the former military spouse. However, it will not change their children’s status. Minor children, whether born from the marriage or adopted during the course of the marriage, will still be entitled to the same military benefits they were used to prior to their parents’ divorce. That will not change.
Dependent ID Card
Children of divorced active duty and civilian parents who are under the age of 10 at the time of the divorce will need to acquire a dependent ID card in their own right. The US Air Force usually only starts to issue dependent ID cards to children once they turn 10, except in cases where parents divorce and the children move away with the civilian parent. The reason being, a lot of civilian parents divorced from an active duty member will not have any further access to military installations. Issuing an ID card to the children will serve as a protection for them and will be proof of their dependence on their active duty parent. It will be much easier for dependent children of active duty personnel to access necessary services at their closest military installation, such as medical treatment, if they have their own ID card.
If possible, the active duty member should try to make sure that their young children receive an ID card before they move away. But if this is not possible, they should stop by Pass and ID and have a letter drawn up which lists the names of all the children, their ages and other vital statistics that will be needed to create an ID card and to just send it to them. The new ID card(s) can then be issued at their nearest military installation.
Children will continue to be listed as their active duty parent’s dependents after the divorce. They will not lose any military benefits as a result of their parent’s divorce.