People in the military face a myriad of challenges, some of which would be incomprehensible to a civilian. It goes without saying that military service can take an incredible physical and mental toll on a person, both in Maryland and around the country. Unfortunately, serving in the military can sometimes negatively affect personal relationships as well. Research has shown that when military deployment is the cause of a divorce, it’s much more likely that it was the woman who was serving. Fortunately, the Pentagon recently reported that the divorce rate for military women is down for the second year in a row.
The divorce rate for women in the Armed Forces reached an all-time peak in 2011. The following year, it decreased to 8 percent. In 2013, the divorce rate was 7.9 percent. Active-duty men had a divorce rate of only 2.9 percent this year.
Some believe that the divorce rates have gone down for women because less of them have been deployed recently. According to a military researcher at the University of Maryland, women’s deployments can cause breakdowns in relationships due to societal pressure. While the military generally treats women and men equally as far as work expectations, women are still pressured by society to fulfill certain family roles that men aren’t necessarily held accountable to.
Military programs do exist to help narrow the gap between divorce rates for men and women, however. For example, the Marine Corps has a Family Team Building program that aims to strengthen marriages for both women and men in the Armed Forces. One spokesperson from the Department of Defense stated that strong family relationships are essential for a service member’s readiness.
Members of the military deserve to be taken care of when they return from deployments. Counseling and financial programs can help to curb some of the challenges that a service member will face when they return home. Hopefully, programs aimed at helping strengthen marriages will allow the downward divorce trend to continue. However, for military marriages that are headed for divorce, there are factors that must be considered that are often specific to these unions. An experienced family law attorney can help navigate the often complex circumstances that affect spouses in a military divorce.
Source: huffingtonpost.com, “Military Decreases For Second Year In A Row” No author given, Dec. 18, 2013