According to statistics released by the Department of Defense, the overall military divorce rate increased 0.1 percent between 2010 and 2011. That may not sound like much, but the military divorce rate has been climbing each year since 2001, and experts are worried that the big picture shows a military force struggling to stay married.
No marriage is perfect, and each relationship comes with it’s own set of challenges, but researchers and military officials point to an issue unique to military marriages: years of repeated deployments. They say these separations can slowly wear away at a marriage.
The Army, which has the most service members of any military division, has a program called Strong Bonds, which provides marriage support. In 2011, over $100 million was devoted to marriage support at bases across America and overseas. Started 10 years ago, Strong Bonds continues to grow each year, with more and more requests for help. Despite budget cuts, officials with the Army see the continued need for Strong Bonds.
Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, spokesman with the Army Chief of Chaplains office, stated, “Any change in the relationship pattern of the family needs a resulting adjustment. Our programs- Strong Bonds or anything a chaplain does to try to help Army families- are helping give them the relationship skills they need.” Birch says that while Strong Bonds initially focused on helping families cope with repeated deployments and long absences, now the focus is on helping families deal with longer dwell times.
With 21 military bases located in Florida alone, military divorce is an issue that affects many Florida families. Military divorces can be especially complex, as one party in the divorce may be out of state or even overseas. A family law attorney who specializes in military divorce can help families get through this stressful time.
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