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Custody Scenarios

The custody agreement and the sponsor’s military status and location will impact how and where eligible child(ren) get care. Even if your child lives between two households, or apart from the service member parent, he or she can get health care anywhere by following the rules of their health care plan.

See below for some scenarios. If you want help in selecting a health plan for your child, call your regional contractor.

Both Parents are Service Members

A child can only have one sponsor. When both of the divorced parents are service members, you must decide together which parent should be the sponsor of the child’s benefits. If an agreement can't be reached, visit an ID card office for guidance on how to resolve the issue. The ID card office can also update your child(ren)’s record(s) to remove their benefits and entitlements under one of the applicable parents. Removing their benefits and entitlements will not remove them from the other parent’s DEERS record.

One Parent is a Service Member and the Other Parent is No Longer Eligible for TRICARE

Your child should have his or her own ID card when in the care of a parent or guardian who is not eligible for TRICARE or who is not the custodial parent. Contact your local ID card office for more information if your child doen't have an ID card.

Shared Custody in Different TRICARE Regions

If custody of your child is shared, and you and your former spouse live in different TRICARE regions, you should decide carefully which health plan your child(ren) will use.

If custody is shared for more than 60 days at a time, TRICARE Standard and Extra may be the best option. Your child(ren) can visit from any TRICARE-authorized provider, network or non-network without a referral. 

TRICARE Prime may not be available in both locations and if it is, you'll need to transfer your child’s enrollment each time they move between parent’s homes or run the risk of paying higher point-of-service fees.

Last Updated 4/25/2014