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Health concerns following deployment can affect military service members’ marriages

A recent study published by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) chronicled how service members’ divorce rates have remained status quo at around 4% since 1996. That’s a similar divorce rate percentage to that for civilians.

If that percentage seems significantly lower than you expected, then you’re not alone. A 2019 study published by the investigative news firm InsideSources (IS) suggested that service members’ divorce rates may be significantly higher than the DOD reports.

The research from IS shows that divorce is highest among service members who endured long deployments. While one previous post that we made here on our blog referred to infidelity playing a role in the demise of these marriages, mental health concerns may also have a significant impact.

How common is divorce post-deployment?

IS interviewed a married service member, along with 12 of his fellow soldiers, during their lengthy collective deployment in Iraq between 2005 and 2010. Of 13 soldiers, only one remained married upon resettling once back in the U.S. The one service member whose marriage did survive his deployment noted that he and his platoon’s deployment wasn’t healthy for any of their marriages.

U.S. Census Bureau data seems to corroborate the above-referenced service member’s assertions. The federal government data shows that individuals in the military are among the top three professionals most likely to get a divorce.

A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) reveals that previously deployed combat veterans were 62% more likely to separate or get divorced than ones who remained stateside. They also discovered that divorce rates were highest among service members whom the military had stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

What impact does service member health post-deployment have on their divorce rates?

Insecurities, including fears of infidelity, feelings of resentment and mental health issues like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, are all lingering concerns with which soldiers returning from deployment must contend. Ultimately, these concerns may result in divorce.

The choices you make when divorcing your spouse can be challenging. Mental health and logistical concerns are two issues that you may have to address. You may find it helpful to have an attorney who is well-experienced in navigating these matters assist you with your case.

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