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Military divorce rates declined slightly in 2012

Montgomery-area military families' lives face disruption every time service members are deployed to overseas combat zones. Repeated deployments create considerable family distress, which sometimes leads to military divorce.

For the first time in a decade, however, the military divorce rate decreased slightly from the previous year. The rate rose from 2.6 percent in 2001 before hitting 3.7 percent in 2011. In 2012, the rate dropped to 3.5 percent. In actual numbers, this means some 30,000 couples divorced, a number that reflects every service branch, and both male and female service members. Pentagon researchers are not convinced this represents a trend, but believe the drop could be the result of fewer deployments, more support resources available to couples facing marital problems and the improving economy.

Even though the rate may have decreased slightly, divorces among military families still occur and present challenges to husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. Factors such as infidelity, financial problems and various irreconcilable differences may come into play.

Enlisted female soldiers and Marines, however, experience the highest rates of divorce -- 9.4 and 9.3 percent, respectively. The enlisted female soldier divorce rate is more than triple that of enlisted males, but was still down from the 2011 rates of 9.6 percent in the Army and 9.8 percent in the Marine Corps.

Divorce is the ultimate decision to permanently change a person's life and move on. Spouses may have a share of medical benefits, retirements and pensions after the divorce is settled. Both parties need to cooperate in order for the divorce to be finalized faster and to keep it from becoming even more contentious than it already is.

Source: Military News, "Military divorce rate down slightly in 2012," Amy Bushatz, Jan. 23, 2013.

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