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Military divorce rate virtually unchanged in 2017

13406378_S.jpgThe divorce rate among members of the armed services in Missouri and around the country was 3 percent in 2017, according to figures released in March by the Department of Defense. The Pentagon says that 2017 is the fourth consecutive year that the military divorce rate has fluctuated between 3 and 3.1 percent. This figure is determined by comparing the number of married service members at the beginning of the fiscal year with the number of divorces reported during the year.

The Pentagon also provides military divorce statistics sorted by paygrade and gender for each branch of the armed services. Military planners use this information to identify areas of concern and branches that could do more to support married service personnel. The divorce rate among women in the Marine Corps has been far higher than in other branches for several years; it reached 9.9 percent in 2010. Analysts say that this persistently high divorce rate among female marines raises questions about family policies in the Marine Corps.

While the figures suggest that the military divorce rate is steady, they also reveal that far fewer members of the armed forces are getting married. Pentagon personnel records indicate that 51.7 percent of active-duty military members were married in 2017. This figure was 56.6 percent in 2011. The fall in military marriages surprises some observers because the armed services offers many benefits, including special housing programs to married personnel.

Military divorce is a specialized area of family law. Attorneys familiar with legislation like the Service Members Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act may explain the rules pertaining to military divorces and help service members or their spouses reach amicable divorce settlements. Attorneys could also clear up confusion over the 10/10 rule, which applies to property division in military divorces.

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