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Current military divorce rate is the highest since 1999

There are a number of Louisiana families who may be going through a divorce this year. Many of them are members of the military. After spending so much time apart, it can be difficult for military families to build a sense of normalcy when a soldier returns. Sometimes, the adjustment is just not possible and a marriage cannot continue. According to a recent study, military divorce rates are at the highest levels since 1999.

The study shows that there were roughly 30,000 divorces involving a member of the military in 2011. Since 2000, the military divorce rate had been consistently declining until this year. The largest increase was seen in the Air Force, where the divorce rate is the highest it has been in over two decades. Perhaps surprisingly, the most commonly divorced couples involve women enlisted in the military.

At a time when military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is coming to a close, more soldiers are returning or planning to return from duty overseas. It remains to be seen whether or not these rates will continue to increase with the influx of families coming back together.

Circumstances common in many divorces such as child support, child custody, property division, and division of assets may certainly come in to play in a military divorce as well. The outcomes are potentially different, though, because one partner may have been serving in the military in another country for a period of time.

Another condition that is unique to military divorces is the existence of certain statutes such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA). These pertain only to members of the armed forces and their spouses and may complicate a divorce. However, a New Orleans attorney who fully understands the limitations and interpretations of these military statutes can certainly be a beneficial resource.

Source: USA TODAY, "Military divorce rate at highest level since 1999," Gregg Zoroya, Dec. 13, 2011

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