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Military divorce rates drop 3.5% in 2012

Tampa military spouses understand the many challenges and obstacles a marriage can undergo when one spouse is enlisted in the military. Issues may include deployment, long-distance relationships, long hours or private behavior. As a result of the particular strains of military marriages, divorce can sadly become common.

However, recent Pentagon statistics have revealed recent good news for military divorces. In 2012, military divorce rates decreased by 3.5 percent compared to statistics gathered in 2011. While experts are hesitant to describe the decrease in divorce as an established trend, the number still represented an increase in military marriage success. Among military branches, statistically speaking, Marines and female soldiers experience the highest divorce rate at 9.4 percent. Divorce rates for woman enlisted in the Army is triple the number of their male counterparts. Officials speculate that this recent decrease in divorce may be credited with the number of military conflicts near resolution.

Special rules and requirements apply for those U.S. Service members when they divorce compared to civilian divorces. The differences may include service of process, compliance, residency requirements and division of military pensions. Additionally, a military divorce is typically governed not only by state law, but also federal law. The different laws applied may affect which court the proceeding will take place in, how pensions will be divided and how spousal support or alimony may be awarded. Moreover, active-duty service members in most cases are protected from divorce proceedings while they are on duty, or for a certain period of time after active duty. The rationale behind this act is to allow service members to devote their energy and time to defending the country.

While military divorce rates have slightly decreased, they are still occurring and necessary. If you are married to a U.S. service member, or are a member yourself, and are thinking about seeking a divorce, it is important to understand it will be different from a typical civilian divorce proceeding. As a result, an attorney who understands military divorce rules, regulations and applicable law can be invaluable. Your attorney can help to evaluate your case, and advise you on how best to proceed.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon, "Military Divorce Rate Drops in 2012," Jan. 23, 2013

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