Life for a military family in Utah is often a good deal different than it is for the civilian population. The nature of benefits for the individual in the service and for the family can vary depending on a lot of factors. When divorce comes into play, nuances of situation can have a great impact on whether and how those benefits continue.

Matters related to property division, child custody, visitation and child support should be fully understood if divorce is being considered. If the divorce has already happened and issues related to benefits arise, it may require a modification of the divorce decree to achieve a set of conditions that everyone can live with.

Take for example a situation in which a child of a divorced military couple turns 19 and is a full-time college student. If under the divorce decree the serving parent is no longer providing for more than half of that child’s support, the child would no longer be eligible for health benefits under the Tricare health care system.

At the same time, consider this. Say a 19-year-old woman has gotten out from under her military dad’s wing through marriage and then divorces and begins attending college full time. Her health care needs might be accounted for as part of her divorce settlement. But if not, she could possibly be brought back under the Tricare umbrella. It would be doable if she remains unmarried and her father covers more than half of her costs of living.

As readers may gather, the key is in how much the military parent pays toward the support of the dependent. But an equally important element is how the status of the child is recorded in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). If that’s not up to date, it could cause difficulties if benefits are sought.

Source: ArmyTimes, “Staying on parent’s Tricare plan,” May 9, 2013; MilitaryTimes, “If sponsor no longer provides child support, is child still eligible for Tricare?,” May 17, 2013

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