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Are members of the military more or less likely to divorce?

A marriage where one spouse is in the military can be challenging to say the least. Stress levels are particularly high during deployments. Multiple separations of various lengths over time force spouses to question whether their marriage can even survive.

So, how are military marriages faring against civilian unions?

Comparing the two types of marriages presents a quandary. Agencies tend to track them differently. Some states have stopped tracking civilian divorces altogether. A better way to determine the success or failure of military divorces is to look at specific demographics of age, education level, race, background and other factors.

Based on various statistics, military couples are more likely not to divorce and may even be less likely to end their marriage. While divorce rates tend to increase after a spouse leaves the military, those rates again depend on specifics such as the branch, age and rank of the individual.

The military encourages marriage. Like civilian employers, the military provides a steady income and benefits. Recognizing the stress that military service can create, they provide a high level of support to families and couples going through challenging times. Few private employers go that far.

However, subgroups exist that do not paint such a positive picture. Married women serving in the military have twice the divorces of marriages than couples where the man is serving. While the number is improving, it does represent a troubling sign.

Longer deployments can also increase the possibility of divorce. Simply stated, the increased time apart presents a hardship many marriages simply cannot overcome. Deployments that involve combat or some form of weapon usage are also known to lead to more divorces, particularly for soldiers who served in high-profile conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Specific problems causing these “emotional roller coasters” include:

  • PTSD, depression or anxiety caused by service
  • Challenges and adjustments when a servicemember is injured and requires care
  • Isolation and resentment felt by the spouse remaining
  • Infidelity arising from long-term deployments

Those who choose to end a marriage and pursue a divorce need legal counsel with skills, knowledge and experience in the complexities of military divorce.

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