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Divorce in the military: Things you should know

Whether or not married couples with one or both spouses serving in the U.S. military get divorced more than their civilian counterparts is not as relevant as whether there are sufficient resources available to help you if you are one of many spouses in the military or married to a member of the armed forces who is considering filing for divorce.

When trying to figure out if you want to stay in your marriage and overcome your problems, it may help to learn more about what types of issues most often cause stress for military spouses. Beyond that, it's also a good idea to know where to seek support if a particular problem arises, especially if you're headed for divorce.

Problem factors that often lead military couples to divorce

If you are the non-military spouse who keeps the home fires burning while your spouse deploys, the stress you experience may be quite different from your spouse's. Understanding each other's perspectives may help you overcome many obstacles. The following list includes issues that can cause stress for either or bother spouses in a military marriage:

  • Deployment: This is likely one of the biggest factors that leads to marital problems in the military. The spouse at home may resent his or her partner's absence and may feel isolated and lonely.
  • Infidelity: Many people try not to think about this risk but ignoring the possibility may only make matters worse. Long deployments often lead to marital infidelity for military couples.
  • Post-traumatic stress: Coming home from deployment may include a whole host of trying situations, especially if the spouse who was away served in combat. Sadly, many military marriages succumb to the challenges of coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Physical injury: Some marriages can't stand up to the stress of coping with a spouse's physical disability, especially if his or her injury impedes quality of life or makes him or her incapable of marital intimacy.

Military couples may indeed face stresses that non-military couples do not encounter or, at least, do not encounter as often. You may hesitate to reach out for support if you feel embarrassed or afraid to talk about your problems, which is understandable and not uncommon. There are likely other people in your unit who have gone through or are currently experiencing similar situations. You can take comfort in knowing that you are definitely not alone in your struggle.

Tap into local resources

When you know where to seek support, you can protect your children's best interests (if you have kids) and get life back on track as swiftly and fully as possible. Divorce is never easy, but it doesn't necessarily have to ruin your family life. By taking one step at a time and relying on experienced guidance to determine a best course of action, you can avoid major complications and amicably negotiate a fair and agreeable settlement.

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