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Military divorce rate surpasses civilians

According to recent statistics from the Pentagon, the military divorce rate is currently about 3.7 percent. This means that nearly four percent of military marriages end every year in the United States. In comparison, the civilian divorce rate is about 3.5 percent.

At the same time, another statistic has also increased: the number of military service members who complete multiple deployments. Currently, about 10 percent of the service men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have done so multiple times.

The concurrent increases in multiple deployments and divorce have led many government officials to speculate that the two may be connected.

It goes without saying that multiple deployments can significantly increase the stress on the service member, on his or her spouse at home, and on their marriage. Deploying multiple times increases the risk not only of injury and death, but also of post-traumatic stress disorder and similar mental ailments. Whether because of one of these causes or simply because of the amount of time spent apart, a spouse may welcome home a person who is not at all like the husband or wife they sent off to war.

This is what happened to one Army Sergeant. After the last of his four deployments, he and his wife divorced after 18 years of marriage. He said there was no significant issue that led to their split, but that it was simply the product of too many months spent apart. "Sometimes the divorce isn't an event; it's just something that happens," he said. "You're gone so much you don't know the person anymore."

Source: Sacramento Bee, "Military families also pay price for repeated tours of duty," Adam Ashton, May 14, 2012

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