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Does deployment increase the chance of military divorce?

The men and women who serve the armed forces of this nation do so at great sacrifice. Their jobs often dictate time away from their families, which can be a source of stress. Many people here in Texas and across the country believe that the divorce rate for service members is on par with civilian divorce rates, but one prominent study challenges that notion. However, experts caution that the study may portray military divorce unfairly.

The research was conducted by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit that provides data for the armed forces. It looked at whether a deployment was more likely to cause a couple to get a divorce. The researchers expected to find that it would, but instead found the opposite. The data showed that couples with one spouse who experienced a deployment were actually less likely to get a divorce.

Another study from the Defense Manpower Data Center, which is part of the Department of Defense, agreed with the results. It found that the divorce rate in the military has stayed fairly constant over the last two decades, only rising about 1%. Representatives say it is on par with the rate of divorce for civilians.

However, many soldiers report just the opposite, with one veteran reporting that among 12 of his friends who had been deployed, 11 ended up divorced. A different study agrees, with its findings showing that soldiers who were deployed are 62% more likely to divorce. The study examined marriages from World War II all the way to the Vietnam War.

Experts say the difference in findings may be because the first two studies looked at a smaller sample in just one year, while the third study looked at a wider range and found that divorce can happen later in the relationship. Many soldiers are calling on the Department of Defense to look at the issue. Even if it does, the possibility of a military divorce will still exist. For those veterans and enlisted service members here in Texas who have questions, an attorney with experience in handling these types of divorces may be the best resource.

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