As divorce numbers continue to plateau and, in some cases, decrease in many states, the unfortunate truth is that military divorce rates are climbing.

This was revealed by a US Department of Defense sponsored study that was compiled by the RAND corporation. In this study, information provided by 462,444 enlisted service members who served in the military between March 1999 and June 2008 was analyzed to determine if there was an increase in military divorce rates, and the possible reasons behind it.

Key Takeaways from the Study

The study provided some interesting insight which could explain why military divorces are on the rise:

  • Over one quarter (28%) of couples married before September 11, 2011 were to divorce within three years after one party’s deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq lasted for over a year.
  • The divorce rate amongst couples married after September 11, 2001 is lower, with researchers speculating that these couples were better prepared to handle the difficulties of a long-term war.
  • 97% of all divorces occurred after deployment, with women being more likely to divorce than men following deployment.
  • Military families with children are less likely to divorce than those without

Special Considerations for a Californian Military Divorce

In some situations, a military divorce may play out exactly as a typical divorce. Military members are still afforded the right for a Summary Dissolution (if they qualify) and the same legal proceedings often apply. However, there are some special considerations that will likely need to be made if one or both parties are in the military which can complicate the divorce:

  • Pension: An individual’s military pension benefits are considered to be property which can be divided in the divorce. Should an individual already be retired, then calculating and dividing this asset is fairly straightforward. For those who are active members and don’t care to divide the pension equally, then the non-military spouse could obtain his or her share of the payment at the time of the divorce.
  • Child Support: While service members are still legally obligated to support their children, the military may impose additional sanctions on service members (i.e. a separation from military service) for failure to comply.
  • Medical Benefits: Also known as TRICARE, a service member’s children will continue to qualify – and so could the ex-spouse.

Divorce can already be complicated in terms of child support, asset separation and debt repayment. Add TRICARE, pensions, disability payments and survivor benefit plans into the mix, and it can quickly spin out of your control.

The law offices of Fisher & Van Thiel, LLP have over 50 years of experience protecting the rights of those who serve our country. Located in Carlsbad, California, we are one of Southern California’s most experienced military divorce lawyers.

If you or your spouse is either active or retired from the military and you are considering a divorce, please call us today at (760) 722-7669 to discuss the details of your situation.

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