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Higher military divorce rates occur after leaving the service

There may be a perception held by some Oklahoma residents that military service members have higher divorce rates than civilian populations. In order to determine whether or not this is so, researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corporation analyzed data from 1995 to 2002 for military couples and civilians.

The researchers chose civilian couples who were as similar as possible to the military couples in the study. They then compared divorce rates among the military couples with those of civilian couples. Finally, the researchers looked at divorce rates for military couples after the military service member left the armed services, comparing the divorce rates post-military with the civilian couples.

The military couples had lower divorce rates while they were serving than did civilians. However, after they left the military, they had significantly higher divorce rates than their civilian counterparts. The researchers stated that they believe this is because the military provides incentives for service members to get married, offering added pay and other benefits. According to the researchers, this may make military service members decide to get married when they are in a relationship with a person they might not have married if it weren't for the incentives. Finally, service members may want to stay in the marriage while they are serving so they don't lose the additional benefits they are receiving.

A military divorce may bring additional considerations beyond what must be dealt with when civilians are facing the end of a marriage. There are particular federal laws regarding such issues as the division of a military pension that a family law attorney who has experience with these matters can explain.

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