For five years, members of the military have been getting divorced in ever-increasing numbers. Now it appears that trend has stopped. The Pentagon says the improvement is due to the success of programs that have been designed to help military marriages last in spite of nearly a decade of war.
Florida military divorce lawyers are encouraged by the news, but fear that the divorce rate could climb again if families are put under stress by continued separation and other aggravating factors that have become common in wartime.
The military divorce rate has increased from 2.6% in 2001 to 3.6% in 2009. In 2010 the military divorce rate remained at 3.6%. That is still not a downward trend, Jacksonville military divorce attorneys point out.
Some groups did see small increases similar to those in years past. The divorce rate for enlisted males increased slightly among Marines and Airmen while remaining constant for Sailors and Soldiers.
Female servicemembers also had increased divorce rates in every service except the Navy, where they remained unchanged. They were still more than double the rate of their male counterparts. In the Army, the female enlisted divorce rate is three times that of enlisted males.
Each branch of the military has its own marriage support programs, and a defense firm in Shreveport largely run out of chaplains’ offices. The Army plans to pour about $9 billion into its “Army Family Covenant” program in 2011. The program covers services such as family mental health care, free childcare during deployment, and post housing improvements.
The Army also plans to spend more than $700 million in 2011 on Strong Bonds, a free retreat that takes participants to a nice resort and provides childcare while teaching relationship skills. The Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force host similar events.