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New study looks at the effect of deployment on military divorce

When a couple with one or both spouses in the military chooses to get a divorce, the process is often more complicated than when two civilians get divorced. There a number of additional factors to consider, especially when it comes to property division and child custody issues.

Statistics have shown that deployment of one spouse can increase the risk of a military divorce for a couple. It is easy to assume that, because the couple is separated for a period of time and the deployed individual is faced with a number of stresses, the risk of divorce increases. But a new study is debating whether deployment is correlated to the risk of divorce for military personnel.

The recent study looked at whether the amount of time a person is deployed has an effect on the risk of divorce and what that effect could be. The one-half million military personnel studied were members of all branches of the military.

The results were a bit surprising. Much of the data showed that members of the military were prone to divorce in ways similar to civilians. Couples who married at a younger age were at a greater risk. In addition, certain branches of the military had lower risk of divorce if there were children involved.

A connected study looked at whether the length of deployment was related to the risk of divorce. Results were mixed. Some tests showed that a lengthier deployment was actually correlated with a lower risk of divorce. However several other tests indicated the opposite: deployment increased the risk of divorce. With this and other information, researchers concluded that more "vulnerable service members" were less likely to get divorced if one spouse was deployed.

It seems like there will always be conflicting data. But one thing is for sure: getting a divorce can be a long, complicated process fraught with emotion and frustration. With so many things to consider, it can help to bring in someone who understands the process and can offer some guidance.

Source: Huffington Post online, "Does Deployment Cause Military Families to Divorce?" Robert Hughes, Jr., 13 July 2011

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