September 5th, 2013
By John Clark
Lengthier deployments, which have become the norm in the U.S. military thanks to prolonged excursions in Afghanistan and Iraq, increase the risk of divorce among service members, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Sources say the U.S. Department of Justice asked the RAND Corporation to study the impact of longer deployments, and the researchers discovered, perhaps not surprisingly, that longer stints overseas lead to higher rates of divorce.
And the study was certainly comprehensive. The researchers pulled information on more than 462,000 enlisted service members who became married while on active duty in the military between March 1999 and June 2008, according to reports.
Researchers also discovered an interesting relationship between the success of marriages that were sealed before and after September 11, 2001, the date of several terrorist attacks on American soil that took thousands of lives.
The data revealed that couples who married before September 11, 2001, were 28 percent more likely file for divorce within three years of saying their vows if one or both of the partners served in Afghanistan or Iraq for more than a year.
On the other hand, couples who married after the attacks on September 11 had a much lower divorce rate. Sources believe this was due in part to the maturity of couples who married after the terrorist attacks, and their better preparedness for the difficulties of war.
But aside from the interesting link between September 11 and divorce rates, regardless of the time of marriage or the date of deployment, married service members consistently divorce at higher rates when they serve overseas for longer periods of time, sources report.
Researchers believe that longer deployments place higher burdens on military couples, many of whom are in the early stages of their marriage. Unfortunately, several excursions on foreign soil have stretched the militaryâ€™s resources in the past two decades, leading to longer deployments and more tension at home.
Interestingly, the study also found that female service members were more likely to seek a divorceafter deployment than their male counterparts, and that military members with children were less likely to file for divorce than their childless peers.
The news comes at a time when military members are calling a divorce attorney at record rates. According to the Department of Defense, the military divorce rate has been steadily increasing for the past ten years, and shows no signs of reversing course.
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