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Military divorce rate unchanged

Monday, May 21, 2018

The military divorce rate continued a four-year trend rate for active duty and other military personnel by remaining the same in fiscal year 2017, according to the Pentagon. For the fourth consecutive year, the divorce rate was between three and 3.1 percent.

Approximately 21,290 of 689,000 military personnel ended their marriage during the last fiscal year. The divorce rate was slightly higher in 2016 where there were approximately 22,500 divorces out of 707,230 military marriages. The rates were calculated by comparing the number of personnel listed in the Pentagon's personnel system married at the beginning of the year with the number who reported divorces.

By comparison, the overall divorce rate in this country was 3.2 percent in 2016, the latest year this information is available. This rate, however, does not include California and five other states and is measured per 1,000 residents.

Divorce rates for female personnel continue to be significantly larger. In the Army, for example, it is 275 percent greater. Rates for men among all branches and women in the Army and Air Force slowly declined. Female personnel in the Navy had rates that slightly fluctuated.

However, women in the Marines had a divorce rate of 7.1 percent that has increased or stayed steady since 2012. It peaked at 9.9 percent in 2010. A Rand Corp. researcher attributed this to military policy changes.

Unlike divorce, the rate of marriage in the military has changed. It dropped from 56.6 percent of all active-duty personnel in 2011 to 51.7 percent in fiscal 2017. This rate is similar to the civilian sphere where 49 percent of all adults in this country were married, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Traditionally, military personnel had higher rates of marriage because of benefits available only to service members such as housing and military allowances for housing. The declining trend in civilian marriages may be impacting the military. Additionally, according to a licensed professional counselor, millennial members of the military do not need the support systems that accompany military marriage.

Divorce issues requires dealing with Texas and military laws. An attorney can help spouses preserve their rights and navigate this process.

Source: Military.com, "Troop divorce rate unchanged; marriage rate continues fall," By Amy Bushatz, March 21, 2018

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