Divorce rates for military members slowing down

Most military families face tremendous hardships during the course of a loved one’s enlistment. For the general military population, the divorce rate is fairly high, although data does indicate that the rate is decreasing. California couples in which at least one party is an active duty member of the military must still address all of the same issues as their civilian counterparts during a divorce — such as child custody and alimony — but the reasons behind divorce can differ greatly.

In 2011, military divorce rates hit 3.7 percent, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2001. The lower 2.6 percent rate was recorded before servicemen and women were sent off to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2011 the rate has decreased some, currently sitting at 3 percent according to information from 2015.

The high rate of divorce was likely related to the high levels of stress that most military couples experienced during that period of time. One researcher speculates that fewer overall deployments could possibly be linked to the lower rates as that could translate to less stress on military members and their spouses. However, the divorce rate for certain demographics in the military are still relatively high compared to the 3.2 percent rate for civilian couples. Female sailors enlisted in the navy were reported to have a divorce rate of 7.5 percent in 2014, although that did decrease to 6.5 percent the following year.

Most couples in California find that focusing on working together to create an agreeable divorce settlement can be in everyone’s best interests. However, while divorce rates among military members and their civilian counterparts might differ, filing for divorce can be an emotionally charged period of time for virtually anyone. When divorcing couples are unable to reach an agreement, it is possible for them to proceed to court, where a judge will have the final say in the matter.

Source:, “Military Divorce Rate Continues Slow But Steady Decline“, Amy Bushatz