According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were just over 1.2 enlisted personnel in the United States Military as of August 2011. It’s no secret that relationships of those in the military are affected by the nature of the job—oftentimes, military enlistment means moving around a lot and sometimes, active foreign war duty. Being the spouse of a person in the military takes a special kind of patience, which is why divorce among military members is sadly common.
According to military.com, the divorce rate for active military members actually dropped to 3.5 percent in 2012, down from 3.7 percent in 2011. The overall rate “had crept slowly up from 2.6 percent in 2001,” and while “researchers are hesitant to call the decrease a real trend,” the rates could reflect a positive uptick for military personnel. “The biggest problem facing married military members,” lawyer Alan Edmonds told military.com, “is their age and their lack of coping skills for the stress of long separations.” The chance that these factors will change anytime soon is slim, which could be one reason researchers remain cautious about their conclusions.
Divorce isn’t as straightforward for members of the military as it is for civilians. Among other things, according to divorcenet.com, “having one’s spouse in the military affects where divorce should be filed, how support is calculated, custody and visitation decisions, and pension rights and other benefits.” Because military members often live away from their spouse, deciding where the divorce should be issued can be tricky—whatever court grants the divorce must have jurisdiction over both spouses. Custody issues “can be complicated by frequent moves and uncertainty about future employment.” And military pensions operate entirely differently than civilian pensions, in either the public or private sector.
Because of these questions, in addition to all the others that face civilian divorcees, the most important first step in a divorce is to contact a dedicated family law attorney. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer today.
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