Pentagon statistics report decrease in military divorce in 2012

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Military Family Law on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.

Being in the military often has a powerful effect on family life. Due to potential times of separation, the stressors of returning from combat, and other issues, many servicemembers and their spouses may find marriage more difficult and strained than non-military couples. This can increase the numbers of military divorce.

According to the Pentagon, the military divorce rate decreased in 2012 from 3.7 to 3.5 percent. Even the rates of divorce among female soldiers and Marines decreased, although this subset of the military population experiences the highest rate of divorce. For females enlisted in the military and Marines, the divorce rates decreased from 9.6 to 9.4 percent and from 9.8 to 9.3 percent, respectively. The decrease could possibly be attributed to the winding down of many military conflicts, resulting in slower deployments, as well as the improving economy.

Although some Virginia residents may think that the process of divorce is the same regardless of profession or vocation, the reality is the servicemembers and their families encounter unique and different issues during a divorce. In addition to being governed by Virginia laws, including the Virginia Military Parents Equal Protection Act, military divorces are also affected by federal laws like the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. These various laws apply and affect divorces involving servicemembers whether they are on active duty, retired, or part of a reserve force.

Both servicemembers and their spouses have rights that deserve to be respected and protected during a divorce. A divorce can raise various issues, including questions over military retirement, survivorship benefit plans, child support disputes, family support, deployments, residency, and others. An attorney experienced in military family law can help answer these questions and advocate on their clients' behalves to ensure that a divorce goes as smoothly as possible.

Source: Washington Free Beacon, "Military Divorce Rate Drops in 2012," Jan. 23, 2013

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