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New statistics show military divorce numbers stagnant

Some jobs have issues that make it difficult to maintain a marriage, and lead to a higher than average divorce rate. One job that has personal, professional and emotional stress is the military.

Members of the armed forces must endure separation and the status of being on call and possibly deployed for extended periods. There is also danger with the job. Regardless of the reason why marriage difficulties arise, it is important to keep track of the divorce rates for military members. New statistics were recently released as to the number of divorces for service members.

In fiscal 2017, the numbers remained stagnant for what they have been for the last four years at 3 percent to 3.1 percent. Of the slightly more than 689,000 service members who were married, just under 21,300 divorced in fiscal 2017. There were slightly more divorces in 2016. For that fiscal year in the more than 707,230 marriages, there were 22,500 divorces. The Pentagon comes to its conclusions by checking the number of troops who are married in its system and the number who divorced.

Looking deeper into the statistics, different factors jump out depending on the branch of the service the people were in, the paygrade, and the gender of the service member. The numbers for female service members who divorced is significantly higher than males. In the Army, it is around 275 percent higher. The number of divorces for males in general and women in the Army and Air Force have steadily declined. In the Navy, there have been fluctuations. Females in the Marine Corps divorced at a rate 7.1 percent. This has risen or stayed the same since 2012.

It is difficult to compare the divorce rate for civilians with the divorce rate for people in the military because different strategies are used to calculate them. The sheer number of troops who are married to begin with is also declining. For fiscal 2017, an estimated 51.7 percent were married. In 2011, that number was around 56.6 percent. Civilians are also getting married less frequently.

Since a military divorce is so different from a civilian divorce with issues such as medical coverage, military retirement benefits, spousal support and living arrangements harder to navigate than a civilian divorce, it is critical for people who are divorcing to have legal assistance from a law firm that is experienced in military divorce.

Source: military.com, "Troop Divorce Rate Unchanged; Marriage Rate Continues Fall," Amy Bushatz, March 21, 2018

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