The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been hard on military families. Too often, the stress of repeated deployments strains the bonds of marriage. The difficulty many service members face when transitioning home can push an already tenuous relationship over the edge.

Now, data is showing what Little Rock military divorce attorneys have been observing since the wars began — military divorces are up, and the Air Force is being hit the hardest.

Military-wide, the divorce rate has grown 42 percent since 2001. The Air Force, however, has seen a 64 percent jump. In 2011, 3.9 percent of Air Force marriages ended in divorce — a higher rate than in any other branch of the military.

Almost 90 percent of the divorces involved enlisted airmen. Rates were also higher for women than they were for men.

Air Force is Working to Reduce Divorce Rate

Nobody knows exactly why the Air Force has seen more divorces than other branches of the military. Some think it might be due to the increasingly mobile Air Force lifestyle. Others attribute the spike to the fact that the Air Force has a relatively high number of marriages where both spouses are members of the military and are deployed on different schedules.

Air Force chaplains are working hard to stem the tide of military divorce. In addition to traditional marriage counseling services, the chaplains are offering airmen the opportunity to attend “Marriage Care” retreats. The retreats are designed to help couples reconnect and to address the special concerns posed by Air Force membership.

Unfortunately, sometimes the marriage can’t be saved. In those cases, airmen should be aware that because of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and other laws, military divorces need to be handled differently than civilian divorces. For that reason, it is best to choose an Arkansas divorce lawyer that has significant experience handling military divorce cases.

Source: Air Force Times, “Air Force Divorce Rate Highest in Military,” David Larter and Michelle Tan, Dec. 31, 2011