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Combat experience is hard on marriage

Many families in Texas may be interested in the effects of a military career on family life. The Rand Corporation recently issued results of a study that ties time spent in combat to the likelihood of military divorce. Many people already know that participating in combat ends up being hard on a marriage. The Rand Corporation study provides some numbers to back up this general observation.

Although the study does not explain why, women who were deployed are more likely to go through a divorce than male veterans. The risk of divorce is higher among deployed service members who married before Sept. 11, 2001, than it is for couples who married after the terrorist attacks. The study also found that the longer a service member is deployed, the higher the risk of divorce is after the service member returns home. Service members who served in more hostile theaters of operation have higher divorce rates than those who served in less hostile areas. Military families with children are less likely to divorce than military families without children.

The Rand Corporation's study is extensive. It gathered data about almost half a million enlisted service members who got married between 1999 and 2008. These service members married while they were enlisted. The Rand study counters earlier studies that drew little or no correlation between combat experience and divorce rates.

Any combat veteran or spouse of a combat veteran who has decided to divorce should speak with a qualified attorney. An attorney with experience in military divorce can advise on the best timing of the divorce and steps that need to be taken to retain access to benefits.

Source: Star Tribune, "Military affairs beat: Study ties the time in combat to divorce risk", Mark Brunswick, September 10, 2013

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