Divorce rate remains high for military families

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Military Family Law on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

When soldiers return from war, it's easy to think that everything will go back to normal. But in fact, the new normal for many military families is that they now face divorce.

According to a study from Blue Star Families, military divorce rates are at their highest since 1999. A large factor in this is that many spouses are deployed anywhere from two to six years. Can you imagine your spouse being gone for that long? Tie that in with the possibility of caring for a wounded soldier, and many families break down from the stress of the situation, and divorce is their only solution.

Unemployment and underemployment for military families is also high, adding to the pressures of holding their families together. According to the Department of Defense, 26 percent of military spouses are unemployed. Those military spouses that are working are experiencing a 42 percent wage gap with their civilian counterparts.

Before you proceed with a divorce, you need to keep in mind that your marriage is subject to different legal issues. Military families have legal issues dealing with military retirement, disability pay, residency requirements, child support, child custody and military deployments.

Federal laws, as well as the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, also need to be kept in mind and can include:

  • The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act
  • The Service members Civil Relief Act
  • The Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act

In general, these laws make your divorce different than a traditional divorce. An attorney experienced in military divorce can help you navigate through these laws and apply them to your unique situation.

Source: Politico, "Help for military spouses," Laura Dempsey, Jan. 12, 2012

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