National statistics show that the overall divorce rate has been declining over the past several years. That trend also appears to be carrying over to the military divorce rate, as well, according to new figures just released by the U.S. Defense Department.
According to those numbers, the overall divorce rate for members of the military last year was 3.1 percent. The Defense Department says that rate has not been that low since 2005, when the annual divorce rate among both enlisted members and officers was at 3 percent. Prior to the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2001, the divorce rate for military members was at 2.6 percent. As conflicts escalated, and more men and women were deployed, that rate began to rise, hitting its peak in 2011 at 3.7 percent.
The divorce rate for women in the military saw a greater decrease than it did for military men. In 2011, the divorce rate for female armed forces members hit 8 percent, falling to 6.5 percent in 2014. For males in the military, there was only a .3 percent decrease in the divorce rate from 2013 to 2014. Since 2011, that percentage has only decreased by .5 percent.
The research team conducting the study for the Defense Department said they are unsure why the numbers for women have shown a significant drop, while the rates for men have stayed steady. The branch with the largest decrease for women was the Marine Corps. Last year, only 6.5 percent of female Marines were divorced, compared to a high in 2011 of 9.5 percent.
Military members who call Illinois home undergo the same legal process as civilian couples when they decide to divorces. Both have the same requirements which must be met under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. However, there may be some issues that could delay the process, such as the spouse being deployed. If this occurs, The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940 offers the military member protection by allowing the delay of any divorce proceedings until the service member returns home.
There are other divorce issues which may be covered under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), which is why the help of a qualified lawyer is critical. Contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today if you or your spouse are in the military and are considering a divorce.