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Military divorce rate at long-time high, highest in Air Force

As many military families in California and across the country know, involvement in the armed forces can cause leave many marriages under serious stress. When deployments separate families for years at a time, it can create challenges that are difficult to overcome. In some cases, spouses may choose to divorce because of it.

According to a recent report from the Defense Department, 30,000 military marriages ended in divorce in 2011 -- the highest the military divorce rate has been since 1999. The report indicated that members of the Air Force experienced more divorces than those enlisted in other areas of the military at 4.6 percent.

It should come as no surprise that multiple deployments and two wars took a toll on some families, prompting a rise in divorce. What may be surprising to some, however, is that women enlisted in the military recorded a higher divorce rate than their male counterparts. According to some, this may be because society still puts pressure on women to maintain traditional family and household roles, even though women are treated similarly to men in the military.

Dual-military marriages can also be more difficult to maintain. When spouses are deployed at different times -- always apart -- it can become difficult to nurture and maintain a marriage.

In order to help these couples and the units they serve in, the military has worked to provide married people with counseling services and retreats focused on maintaining marriages. The Air Force currently employs about 500 chaplains who are available to counsel service members who may need help with their marriages.

For some couples, counseling is enough to keep a marriage intact. For others however, the stress of the military may be too much. In these cases, divorce may be the best choice for both partners. Military divorces, however, can be complicated. It may be helpful to seek legal advice from an experienced California family law attorney.

Source: Air Force Times, "Air Force divorce rate highest in military," David Larter and Michelle Tan, Dec. 31, 2011

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