Rates of divorce and marital problems tend to be common when spouses are in certain career paths more than others. Specific fields will see significantly high rates of divorce before the age of 30. The career path that sees the highest rate of divorce in couples under 30, is enlisted military supervisors (non-commissioned officers or NCOs), with a divorce rate of around 30 percent. Following closely behind this occupation are:
- Mechanics or automotive technicians
- Military-enlisted positions in tactical operations and air weapons
There were three military positions that took a spot in the top ten careers with higher divorce rates. The average rate for divorce where one spouse are enlisted in the military is 15 percent before the age of 30.
What factors lead to higher divorce rates among spouses in a military career path?
When one spouse is enlisted in the military, both spouses face a unique set of circumstances and challenges. One of the most common problems is time spent away from the family. Deployments can come on rapidly, last for a long time, and sometimes result in significantly less communication between the spouses. Deployments are not only hard on the deployed person but also the spouse left behind to take care of children and the household on their own. Deployments have such an impact on families that the rate of divorce increases for each month of separation. Divorce rates for deployed military members can rank as high as 14.6 percent.
Another issue that can cause problems in a military marriage is insufficient pay. Being employed in the military can come with perks, such as housing allowance, medical benefits, moving costs, and college tuition assistance. Unfortunately, these “perks” are figured into the pay scale of military personnel, and the take-home pay after benefits can be seen by many growing households as insufficient to maintain a reasonable lifestyle.
Mental health issues that are commonly associated with military personnel can also have a drastic effect on the survival of a marriage. Factors such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety affect all branches of the military, with 20 percent of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans reporting experiencing them at some point.
Things to consider when going through a military divorce
While divorces are the same no matter what your chosen career path, there are some factors about being in a marriage where one spouse is enlisted that should be considered when filing.
Typically divorces will be filed in the state where the filing party has legal residence established. This is often the same state where the other spouse resides. Yet, some military families may separate first, with the non-military spouse staying behind while the other moves to their next assignment. If this occurs, and the non-military spouse is filing, it is important the filing occurs in the state where the military member has legal residence.
If a military spouse is deployed, it can delay the process
In a typical divorce, one spouse will file for divorce, and the other spouse will have a set number of days where they can answer the petition. However, if the member being served is a deployed military member, under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, the normal curt schedule can be changed to accommodate the deployment. They will receive an initial stay of 90 days, which can be renewed if answering the petition will interfere with their military duties during deployment.
Child visitation schedules can become more complicated
Due to the fact that military members may be required to move a lot during their career, it can be much more difficult to work out a visitation schedule with children. If the spouses live in different states, it can mean that visitation may have to occur for weeks at a time or sometimes include entire summers.
Dealing with a divorce where a spouse is enlisted in the military can be difficult. Even though you can get legal assistance with forms and letters from legal staff on base, it is crucial to obtain a civilian lawyer to handle your proceedings that knows the challenges you may face.