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Can My Spouse Confiscate My Military ID Card During Our Divorce?

The short answer to this question is: absolutely not. Now for the longer version………

Often times, members of the military mistakenly believe that, because they are listed as the sponsor on the DD1172-11 military identification application form required for the issuance or renewal of family member identification cards, they can confiscate or refuse to renew their spouse’s identification card any time they choose. This is absolutely not true. Family member or dependent identification cards, along with the privileges granted by such cards, are an entitlement granted by the United States Government, not the military sponsor. In other words, the military sponsor does not have the unilateral authority to decide who can and who cannot have a military identification card, and if you and your spouse are still married, even if there is a pending divorce, you are still entitled to your identification card. In fact, if your military spouse does deny you of this federal entitlement, your spouse may be in violation of certain federal regulations.

Every branch of the United States Military uses the same joint regulation which governs the issuance of military identification cards. This regulation is entitled: DOD Directive 1000.22. The relevant sections are 8.1.1 and 8.1.2. This directive provides, in part, that if a military member refuses to sign the required application for an identification card for a military dependent,that member is in contravention to the regulation, the Personnel Office at that member’s base may indicate such on the application form, and the Personnel Office may issue the ID card anyway.

However, in some cases, a nonmilitary spouse will lose his or her identification card and privileges once the divorce is final, unless one following exceptions applies:

1) If your military spouse has performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay, and you were married to you spouse for at least 20 of those qualifying years, you will been titled to full benefits (medical, base access, etc.) until you remarry. This rule is known as the “20/20/20″ rule.

2) If your military spouse has performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay, you have been married to your spouse for at least 20 years, and there was at least a 15 year overlap of the marriage and the military service, you will qualify for continued medical benefits only.

If you are currently going through a military divorce, or if you have questions concerning the law and rules applicable to military divorces, contact Meriwether & Tharp, LLC. One of our attorneys knowledgeable in the area of military divorce would be happy to assist you.

By A. Latrese Martin, Associate Attorney, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC

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