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Long military deployments lead to a higher rate of divorce


Since 9/11 many military members from Illinois have been deployed overseas. Long deployments can have many effects on those who are deployed as well as their families and friends back home. For those who are married the long time apart can also put a strain on the relationship. Those marriages face unique challenges that civilian marriages do not have to face. Due to these unique challenges, marriages that involve a deployed military member have an increased risk of ending in divorce.

A Rand Corp. study found a rise in divorce rates for members of the military deployed for 12 months after 9/11. Within three years of marriage, for those who were married prior to 9/11, the divorce rate rose 28 percent compared to those who were deployed prior to 9/11. However, the study also found that for those similarly situated couples married after 9/11, the divorce rate was lower than those married prior to 9/11. Deployment in hostile areas compared to non-hostile also increases the likelihood of divorce.

Military members and their spouses know better than anyone else the challenges that long deployments place on a marriage. Beyond just the long time apart, coming home after a long deployment can also cause emotions to run high, especially when one spouse sees significant changes in the other. Many who are struggling in their marriages upon a return from a long deployment may find themselves considering divorce; however, there are many important things to consider during a military divorce.

Military members seeking a divorce need to contemplate property division, child custody, child support, parenting time and many other things, but military couples also should be aware that there are some special rules unique to them. For instance, divorce proceedings generally cannot be initiated against active-duty servicemembers or for 60 days following active duty. There are also some different rules for which state military members can file their divorce in and how military pensions are split.

All of these things can be confusing and emotions typically run high during a divorce. Having an experienced attorney can help guide a military member or a military spouse through the whole process and help them start fresh after the struggles long deployments overseas place on their marriages.

Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "Military affairs beat: Study ties the time in combat to divorce risk," Mark Brunswick, Sep. 10, 2013

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