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Military divorce rates higher after exiting service

Many Tennessee military members are also married. There is a perception that military couples are more likely to divorce than couples who are civilians. In order to test this theory, researchers from the Rand Corporation and the UCLA Department of Psychology looked at divorce data for both military families as well as civilians.

The researchers tried to choose civilians who were similar to those who serve in the military. They then looked at military members who were married and were serving between the years of 1995 and 2000. Then, the researchers looked at service members who had left the military.

According to the researchers, the armed forces provides incentives to military service members for marrying, such as added benefits. While serving, the researchers found that military service members were less likely to divorce than were their civilian peers. However, after the service members left the military, the military couples then had higher rates of divorce when compared to civilian couples. The researchers theorize that this is because the incentives offered by the military may encourage some people who would not otherwise choose to marry their partner to do so.

In order to protect military service members who divorce, federal laws are in place governing such things as child custody decisions made by state judges when one spouse serves in the military. Judges may not award sole custody to a parent simply because the other parent may be deployed. People who want to divorce and who serve in the military may want to consult with a family law attorney about how their service may impact them.

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