Military divorce rates on the rise once again

According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, the military divorce rate has increased again this year. This increasing military divorce rate reflects, in part, the increased availability and acceptance of divorce nationwide. It also reflects, however, the unique realities of military life: marriages often fall victim to the stress of prolonged separation and the strain of repeat deployments.

The U.S. military’s Afghanistan operations began in 2001. Each year since then, there has been an increase in the military divorce rate. Although the increase each year has been quite small, over the course of ten years (from 2001 to 2011) the military divorce rate has still steadily risen from 2.6 percent to 3.7 percent.

“When we first started analyzing this in 2007, we were not seeing too much of an increase in military divorce,” said Benjamin Karney, a researcher with the RAND Corp. “But we suggested that over time the effects on families would expand. And it seems like we’re gradually seeing that sort of thing happen.”

Interestingly, different military subgroups have been affected to a different extent. As one example, women in the Navy have seen their divorce rate increase slightly over the past year, while women in the Marine Corps actually seen their divorce rate decline slightly.

The U.S. military/Department of Defense is attempting to combat this trend with family support and marriage intervention programs. For example, the Army’s Strong Bonds program spent over $100 million last year to run marriage support events designed to help families adapt to the changes inherent in military life.

While it is heartening to see the U.S. military taking steps to support its families, they must also acknowledge that for many military couples, divorce is the best — and perhaps only — option.

If you are among those struggling with the stress of maintaining a military marriage and have decided that divorce is the best option for you, consider speaking with an experienced divorce attorney. Together, you can discuss your rights, your options and how you can navigate the often difficult divorce process as smoothly as possible.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

Source:, “Military divorce rates continue steady climb” Dec. 14, 2011