Gary L. Stapp Law Office

WHAT IS THE 20/20/15 RULE?

Under this rule, the former military spouse qualifies for medical care benefits for only one year from the date of the divorce, dissolution or annulment. However, if the former spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan, medical care benefits are not available


It depends on the length of the marriage. In a long-term military marriage, often the single largest asset is the Military Pension or Military Retirement Pay. Typical military retirement pay usually ranges from $ 1,200 to several thousand dollars per month (or substantially more for generals and flag ranks). If a person has a forty-year life expectancy, post-retirement, the pension can be worth anywhere between $ 590,000 to more than two million (absent a present value reduction and excluding cost of living or inflation). Given the value of this asset, if you are facing this type of a military divorce, you should seek the advice of an experienced Alaska divorce attorney.

if I am serving in the military, can I get my divorce in Alaska?

It depends. At the time you file your Petition for Dissolution, either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in Alaska for ninety (90) days. If one of you is a member of the armed services, and have maintained a domicile in Alaska for ninety (90) days, or have been stationed in Alaska for ninety (90) days prior to filing, depending on other factors, you could elect to file your divorce in Alaska. However, if you have children and will be filing a complaint for Custody Order as well, you need to consult with an experienced Alaska attorney, as the correct state for filing could vary. At The Law Office of Gary L Stapp you have the experience of a former JAG officer to help and advise you every step of the way.


It depends whether or not you are active duty. The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. § 521) is intended to protect active duty members from being held in default in lawsuits, including divorce and custody plan actions. This law is intended to prevent a party to a lawsuit from taking advantage of an active duty military member while that person is serving our country, and unable to represent themselves in legal proceedings. Under the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. § 521), a court must either stay an action or appoint an attorney to represent a person who is an active duty member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.

Military Divorce

If you are comtemplating getting a divorce and need more information  please check out our helpful lists and advice.

am I entitled to my spouse's retirement pay?

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided upon divorce. Unless you have been married ten (10) years or more, the military generally will not split up the pension. However, even though it may not be split up formally by the military, Alaska courts will likely consider any part of the pension a marital asset if you were married to the military member while part of the pension was earned. For example, if your spouse was enlisted for twenty (20) years, but you were only married ten (10) of those twenty years, the court will only consider ten (10) years of military pay as a marital asset.


You will typically lose your Military ID Card and all benefits unless you have been married for a minimum of fifteen (15) years. This means that there must be a fifteen (15) year overlap of the marriage and military service.

Click on the following sections for more information:

Disclaimer: the material provided on this site is general in nature, and is not intended to constitute legal advice for particular circumstances. No one should rely on this site in lieu of legal advice provided by a licensed Alaska  attorney who is experienced in Alaska law. If you have a legal question involving Alaska law, you should contact an Alaska lawyer experienced in this area. Alaska state laws, statutes, guidelines, administrative rules, and case law are constantly changing, and the author makes no guarantee that the information is currently accurate, although efforts are made to keep the information up-to-date. Furthermore, visiting this site alone does not constitute attorney-client privilege.

Click here for issues involving  family and the impact of divorce on children

WHAT IS THE 20/20/20 RULE?

Under the 20/20/20 rule, a former spouse of a military member will receive full benefits, typically including medical, commissary, base exchange, theater, etc. so long as that former spouse remains unmarried and provided that each of the following is true:

• The marriage with the military member lasted at least twenty (20) years.

• The military member performed at least twenty (20) years of service creditable for retirement pay.

• There was at least a twenty (20) year overlap of the marriage and military service.

Usually, the military spouse will receive medical care benefits unless that military spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan. If the 20/20/20 former spouse remarries, eligibility for the benefits is terminated. However, if the subsequent marriage ends in death or divorce, commissary, base exchange and theater privileges may be reinstated, but medical care benefits cannot be reinstated.



Income for the purposes of child support is not just limited to your taxable income or Adjusted Gross Income. For the purposes of determining child support, actual income is much broader and different from taxable income or a person’s Adjusted Gross Income. Civil Rule 90.3 explains that: “Income for child support includes actual income, imputed income, or any combination thereof which fairly reflects a parent’s resources available for child support. Income can never be less than zero.” Since the child support guidelines include actual income, the Alaska Child Support Guidelines take into account income from whatever source derived, subject to a few exclusions. Actual income can include the following:

  •  Salaries, wages and tips.
  •  Commissions, bonuses, and earnings.
  •  Profits and dividends • Severance pay.
  •  Pensions.
  •  Periodic distributions from retirement plans.
  •  Draws or advances against earnings.
  •  Interest • Trust income.
  •  Annuities • Royalties.
  •  Alimony or spousal maintenance.
  •  Social Security benefits.
  •  Veteran’s benefits.
  •  Workers’ compensation benefits.
  •  Unemployment benefits.
  •  Disability benefits.
  •  Earned Income Credit.
  •  Other government payments and benefits.
  •  History of capital gains that exceed capital losses.

Due to the design of military pay, a military member’s income for the purposes of child support is not just his or her military pay, but includes additional allowances and benefits such as BAH and BAQ. Mr. Stapp is a former JAG who understands the unique position of our nations military members, and how to assist and guide them through the challenges of military divorce and custody issues.