Military Divorce Rate: Statistics and Issues

Military Divorce Rate: Statistics and Issues

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The military puts extra pressure on a marriage that often lead to a contested divorce.
Military service puts extra pressure on a marriage that often lead to a contested divorce.

We all want marriages to last. But it can be argued that the military divorce rate is a top concern. Keeping these marriages happy is critical to unit performance. So let’s look at military divorce rate statistics. We also will discuss some issues for military marriages.

Key Findings recently published an article on the military divorce rate. Key findings:

  • In 2019, the military divorce rate was between 3 and 3.1 percent.
  • The divorce rate for enlisted troops was 3.5 percent.
  • The rate for officers was 1.7 percent.
  • The divorce rate for males, both enlisted and officers, was 2.5 percent.
  • In contrast, the rate for all females was an alarming 7 percent.

Comparing the Military and U.S. Divorce Rates

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Deployments and changes to duty station can create tension in even a happy marriage.

The 2019 statistics are the most recent available. The data does not include Coast Guard personnel.

You may be wondering; How does the military divorce rate compare against the U.S. rate? It’s difficult to say exactly. That’s because they use different methods.

Specifically, the military counts the number of service members married at the start of the fiscal year. This figure is compared against the number who get divorced during that time.

In contrast, the U.S. divorce rate is measured per 1,000 residents. For 2018, the government reports the rate was 2.9 per 1,000. (Most recent statistics available.)

Understanding the Military Divorce Rate

Since 2014, the military divorce rate has remained relatively steady. This statistic can be looked at in one of two ways.

The military has created several family support programs in recent years. But the rate is not going down. So people may say the programs are not doing enough.

On the other hand, the rate also is not increasing. So officials can be pleased the programs are having at least some impact.

Factors Affecting Military Marriages

Military parent leaving child.
Military deployments and stressful jobs impact children as well as marriages.

Of course, every married couple deals with issues. But armed forces personnel face some unusual challenges. Relocation is one. Military families move frequently. We’ve all heard people talk about wanting to “get settled.” For some military families, this may not happen for many years.

But the biggest issue may be deployment. When a solder is sent overseas, the spouse sometimes can go along. But often, the spouse must stay behind. It is not easy to make visits, especially during the pandemic.

Even when the entire family moves, deployment is difficult. If you have ever moved, you know it is stressful. Moving to another country is even more challenging. All of these factors can impact the military divorce rate.

Factors Complicating A Military Divorce

No one is excited about going through a divorce. But a military divorce has a few wrinkles to it.

The first of these is deciding where to file for divorce. This is determined by your assignment. In Texas, you must be stationed or living in a county for 90 days before you can file. This includes Tarrant County.

In addition, you must have lived in or been stationed in Texas for at least six months. An experienced military divorce lawyer can provide additional advice.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) also affects military divorces. This SCRA allows military personnel to delay a divorce for 90 days. Cases involving child paternity and child support also can be delayed. The court may further decide to grant an additional 90-day delay.

Both factors impact how quickly a military divorce can occur. They also impact the overall military divorce rate.

Getting Help With Your Military Divorce

Loving wife giving necklace ring as support and safety symbol to US male soldier
The U.S. Military has programs to support healthy and happy marriages.

Are you dealing with the prospect of a military divorce? Do you have a friend or family member in the service in this situation?

The attorneys of The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, have extensive experience in military divorces. They have helped clients at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base and other installations. They have also assisted military personnel with cases involving child support and custody. Don’t let divorce distract you from your mission—call us today at 817-335-9600.

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