The military life is never easy. With deployments, frequent travel and the possibility of long separations, it is no surprise that service members in Virginia and across the nation will often face the prospect of a military divorce. There are inherent concerns with a military divorce including a non-military spouse maintaining health coverage, child support, visitation and much more. For couples who are considering a military divorce, it is important to understand these issues and how to navigate them with help from a law firm experienced in military law.

On a positive note, there has been a statistical decline in military divorce and that trend is continuing. The Defense Department data shows that the reduction of military divorces has been ongoing for 10 years. Around 3 percent of service members who were married when 2018 began got divorced during that year. The reduction in divorces is small but noteworthy at 0.1 percent when making a comparison with 2017 numbers. When researchers gauge the number of divorces in the military, they calculate how many members of the armed forces are married at the beginning of the fiscal year and how many got divorced by the end of the fiscal year. It also categorizes them based on whether they are officers or enlisted, their gender and which branch of the service they are in.

This is not to imply that the decline was steady. It has fluctuated in the decade and that is relevant in these statistics. The numbers can be moderately inaccurate in context due to certain categories of service members who are not married as often as others. An example is female members of the Marine Corps, of whom 740 were married at the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year. The most accurate method to determine the rates of military divorce is to examine the group that has the most people in it. That is enlisted males. Among them, there was a 3.3 percent divorce rate in 2009. That has seen a reduction of 2.7 percent since then.

Female officers and enlisted service members’ divorce rate is double that of males in the same circumstances. That has consistently been the case. In 2018, more than 6 percent of female service members had a military divorce.