Decrease in Military Divorce Is the First in Ten Years

Posted on Feb 17, 2013

The last ten years have not been going so well on the military marriage front; the divorce rate has been increasing steadily for the past decade.

In 2001, when U.S. forces entered Afghanistan, the divorce rate for marriages where at least one spouse is a military member was at 2.6 percent. In 2011, that rate had risen to 3.7 percent. Amazingly, 2012 brought the first decrease we have seen in a long time, bringing the military divorce rate down to 3.5 percent. Not a huge difference, but a decrease nonetheless.

Experts, however, are not so quick to call this decrease a trend. The divorce rate did go down just a bit in every service among male and female service members of all ranks, but there are still some interesting statistics. Enlisted female soldiers and Marines have the highest rate of divorce, 9.4 percent and 9.3 percent respectively. Those rates also went down from 2011, however, with that year's rates being 9.6 percent in the Army and 9.8 percent in the Marine Corps. The female enlisted divorce rate in the Army is more than triple that of enlisted males.

Benjamin Karney, a researcher with the RAND Corp. who studied military divorce, has a theory as to why the rate of divorce may have decreased. "The divorce rates are perhaps trickling down because the pace of deployment is getting slower," he said. "Another possibility is that the economy is kind of bouncing back and military families are absolutely affected by the broader national economy, so maybe their lives are gradually getting easier."

The military divorce lawyers of Smith Strong PLC are, of course, pleased to hear that military families in the Commonwealth of Virginia are under less strain. We certainly hope this trend will continue. We remain available at 804-325-1245 (Richmond) or 757-941-4298 (Williamsburg) for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses who are facing family law difficulties. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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