According to a recent report, the U.S. Air Force has had the highest rates of divorce of all the service branches since 2011. Constant military action and its effects have had a negative impact on the family life of service members. In an attempt to combat a higher divorce rate than the general population, the Air Force is adapting a new type of marriage check that will be rolled into medical check-ups.
The idea behind this initiative is that marital happiness relates back to physical and mental health and should be treated as a health issue. By regularly checking on marital satisfaction the hope is that issues can be headed off and resolved before they end the marriage. Other avenues for coping with a military marriage have sprung up in the form of online help groups. These groups are comprised of not only military spouses telling their stories, but also include doctors and PhD’s who teach things such as how to spot PTSD in spouses.
While the new marriage check may make a difference for many, even extra help may not save every military marriage. Unfortunately, the same difficult issues that can make a military marriage harder to maintain than others can make a military divorce just as challenging. Most states have residence requirements that must be met before a divorce can be heard or granted. In Florida, a person must reside in the state for six months before they can file a petition. But, if the military spouse is on active duty, the divorce can be postponed for up to 60 days after the spouse returns from duty.
Sometimes a marriage can be saved from whatever it is that ails it, but other times the marriage has run its course and both parties will be better off when it ends. Knowing when to stay and when to leave is something that only those involved in the marriage can decide.
Source: Air Force Times, “Divorce and the Air Force: Who stays married and who doesn’t,” Oriana Pawlyk, April 28, 2014