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Take proper steps before a military marriage

Members of the military need to take special steps to protect their interests before they get married. This is because marriages that last 20 years while the service member serves 20 years and 20 years of each of those overlap can lead to claims under the 20/20/20 rule if the couple gets divorced.

Because the 20/20/20 rule has to do with your military pension and other benefits, you need to get a prenuptial agreement signed before you walk down the aisle. You can include information about how the pension and other assets are handled if you get a divorce. It is understandable that you wouldn't want to think about divorce before you get married, but doing so might save you from financial devastation down the road. Be sure you understand how to properly create and present a premarital agreement because you don't want a mistake to have it found to be unenforceable if you need it.

You may need to make sure that you create a power of attorney that will allow your spouse to act on your behalf when you are deployed. If you do this, you can spell out what responsibilities you are turning over. You also need to add your spouse to your Page 2 so that he or she will be notified if there is an emergency, and you might need to update your Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance policy.

Once you get married, you need to make plans to add your spouse to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. The DEERS enrollment can be done when your spouse gets his or her military ID made, and you can also register your spouse's car with the installation at which you are stationed. Your spouse can also register for TRICARE and dental coverage.

Source: Military One Click, "The Essential Military Premarital Checklist," accessed Sep. 19, 2016

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