Military divorce rate continues its slow fall in 2018

| May 28, 2019 | Firm News, military family law

The rate of divorce among active-duty members of the military has been falling slowly for about 10 years. Service members in Kentucky may be interested to learn that this trend continued in 2018, according to recently released data. The figure is calculated by comparing the number of service members who were married at the beginning of the year with the number who were still married at the year’s end. The overall divorce rate is about 3%, which is down by approximately 0.1% from 2017.

Military divorce rates are much higher among female enlisted troops and officers. While only 2.6% of married male service members filed for divorce in 2018, the rate among female service members was more than twice as high at 6.3%. The national divorce rate, which is calculated differently and does not factor in data from several states, was 3.2% in 2016. This is the most recent year with up-to-date information.

What the Pentagon figures do not reveal is how military marriages fare when spouses leave the service and return to civilian life. While little research has been done in this area, experts believe that divorce rates could be much higher among former service members. This is because of financial pressures caused by losing military benefits and difficulties adapting to a less structured life.

Divorces involving current and former military members are often more complex because soldiers receive income from many sources. Attorneys with experience in this area may check service and pay records carefully to ensure that only income that is divisible is discussed during property division negotiations. While military retirement pay is generally divisible in divorce cases, this may not be true with other types of military income.