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Arkansas service members: Military divorces trending down

The pressure on Arkansas military service members' marriages can be tremendous. Spouses are sometimes separated for lengthy periods, making it especially hard for parents shouldering the responsibilities of two people. Families often can't establish roots in one place because of obligations to move regularly.

The military divorce rate has fluctuated considerably in the last several years. The rate was just 2.6 percent when service members rushed to two wars in the Middle East in 2001. A decade later the rate had creeped up to 3.7 percent and then reversed.

The latest figures from the Pentagon indicated a continuation of that trend in 2014. Last year's rate was 3.1 percent, just above the decade's low point of three percent in 2005.

An analysis showed a significant divorce decline among female troops. This has been a consistent trouble spot for military marriages in the past. Women in the military were divorcing at an 8 percent rate in 2011 – last year, the rate dropped to 6.5 percent for female enlisted personnel and officers.

The rate of divorce among female Marines took the most precipitous drop, from 9.5 percent in 2011 to 6.2 percent in 2014. Pentagon officials have not speculated on the reasons for the decline in female divorces or for the stagnation in the male divorce rate.

The divorce needle hasn't moved much for men serving in the military in the last few years. The reduction in the divorce rate for military male service members since 2011 has been half of one percent.

The Centers for Disease Control reported the civilian divorce rate was 3.6 percent in 2011. However, it would be inaccurate to try to compare percentages of civilians and military divorces. Different methods are used to calculate these numbers.

State and military family laws combine when service members divorce. Civilian attorneys provide guidance for Arkansas service members through the legal process.

Source: Fox Business, "Military Divorce Rate Hits Lowest Level in 10 Years" Amy Bushatz, Military.com, Mar. 04, 2015

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