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Study shows deployment affects military divorce rate

A thorough examination of divorce in the military has revealed a number of interesting observations that are relevant to military couples from New Orleans. Researchers with the Rand Corporation examined information from more than 462,000 enlisted service members who married during their service. All of these individuals were part of the military between March 1999 and June 2008. Perhaps one of the more obvious points of the report was that deployments have an effect on divorce rates in the military.

Though this may come as no surprise, previous studies have indicated that deployments did not have a major effect on military divorce rates, some even suggesting that deployments helped decrease the risk of divorce for military couples. The recent study debunks these previous claims, and it may be due to the wide frame of time that is covered, as well as the data pool that researchers used to come to their conclusions.

Digging deeper, researchers noticed that the length of deployment made a difference in the risks that couples faced when it came to divorce. The more months spent deployed, the more likely a person was to see her or his marriage end. The area of deployment made a difference, as well. Those who were deployed to hostile areas were more likely to divorce in the future. The study also looked at how marriages before and after Sept. 11, 2001, were affected by deployment. This analysis revealed that those who were deployed to war zones for 12 months before the terrorist attacks were 28 percent more likely to get divorced within three years of marriage as compared to those who saw similar deployments after that date.

More interesting reports from the study include the consideration that female service members were more likely to get divorced than male service members when deployment is involved. There is also the detail that 97 percent of divorces happened after the military spouse returned from deployment.

Military divorces are often more complicated than traditional civilian divorces because of the benefits military members receive. There are medical benefits for dependents, as well as military retirement payments and other considerations. Those who are thinking about a military divorce should ensure they are familiar with all aspects of what it might entail so they know their rights and interests are protected.

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

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