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Divorce rate spikes for Arkansas, other females in military

A long-distance dating relationship may not be ideal, but the arrangement works for some couples. No one wants an extended separation from a partner after marriage, but that's nothing new for Pulaski County military families. What has changed is who remains in the U.S. after a spouse's deployment overseas.

At-home military spouses are no longer exclusively female, with women making up 15 percent of U.S. active duty service members. Women's participation in the military is increasing, with projections estimating one-quarter of American military personnel may be women within 10 years. Reports say spousal separation is hard, whether the one who stays behind is a husband or wife, but the support for husbands of female members of the military is lacking.

Married couples often feel anxious about being apart after one partner goes off on a short business trip; military spouses endure months and sometime years apart. The overseas spouse misses significant events like birthdays, anniversaries, school events and sometimes the births of children. The spouse in the States faces the stress of being alone and acting alone or packing and unpacking as spouses' assignments change, with limited job prospects.

The divorce rate among women service members is almost three times the rate of men in the military, indicating the stress on military husbands may be greater than military wives. Gender disparity among at-home spouses means organized activities on bases are predominantly wife-oriented, making husbands feel literally like the odd man out. Some military husbands have reached out for same-gender emotional support and banded together through groups online.

Military family law differs from civilian laws, although the two overlap in a military divorce. Not every Arkansas family law attorney is familiar with the procedures for military separations and divorces; that includes lawyers in at legal offices stationed on military bases. A civilian family law attorney with military divorce experience is frequently the best choice.

Source:  KCENTV.com, "Male Military Spouses Lack Support, Divorce Rates Soar" Sophia Stamas, Mar. 27, 2014

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