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Military Life Poses Marital Challenges

Posted on in Divorce

Naperville divorce lawyerWhile the overall divorce rate for Americans is on a steady decline, there is a subset of people who are getting divorced more frequently: active troops in the armed forces. Those who voluntarily place themselves in harm’s way in the service of our country risk more than physical injury or death; they must also face challenges that can destroy their relationships with their spouses and other loved ones.

By the Numbers

According to researcher Benjamin Karney, the rate of married men in the military who divorced was about 2.6 percent. This number has remained the roughly the same in recent years. By comparison, the rate of military women who got divorced rose from 6.2 percent in 2015 to 6.6 percent in 2016. The Marine Corps alone saw a jump in troops’ divorce rate from 2.3 percent to 2.8 percent for men and from 6.4 percent to 7.7 percent for women.

Alleviating Risk Factors

Military life is extremely hard on everyone involved. Wives and husbands are away from each other for months at a time, and stress may run high during deployments or forced time apart. Often the responsibility of child-rearing falls to one person for long stretches at a time. Mental health issues arising from dangerous jobs can also make the marriage even more stressed.

Relationship experts offer advice for those facing difficulties in their marriage while in the military:

  • Seek out professional help. A counselor can help you and your spouse understand the root cause of the friction in the marriage. If possible, find a professional who specializes in helping military families;
  • Seek treatment for mental health issues such as PTSD. Identifying and addressing underlying problems can allow a couple to work on things together;
  • Reach out to other military friends or trusted mentors. Physical and emotional isolation can be extremely damaging, but you are not the only who has experienced such feelings. Many military bases and posts also facilitate peer support groups for family members;
  • Spend special time with your spouse going on dates and reconnecting—especially after having been separated due to deployment. Set time aside and do not net anything short of an actual emergency change your plans; and
  • Have patience and grace with your spouse. Allow him or her time to readjust to changing circumstances. Do not condone unhealthy or harmful behavior, but understand that moments of intense stress followed by long periods of relative boredom can create adjustment issues upon returning home.

If your relationship is beyond repair and you decide to divorce, know your rights as a military spouse. Military divorces can be more complicated than civilian divorces, due to duty schedules, constant moving, and deployments. This may be especially true for military couples with children.

At Pesce Law Group, we are sensitive to the needs of military spouses as they navigate the divorce process. To learn more about how we can help you with your case, speak with one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.


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