Military Divorce Statistics

Part of the Divorce Statistics Collection, sponsored by Americans for Divorce Reform
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NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

The truth is out there, but we don't have very many statistics in hand. If anyone has access to statistics on divorce in the military, we would be grateful if they could send us the statistics, or at least web address with which we can link to them. The extra strains on the military family are a big issue for many of us.

Divorce rates have risen, especially in the Army,
where the number of divorces nearly doubled from 2001 to 2004, to 4 percent
of all married personnel.

"Sgt. Rowe Stayton ... who served in Iraq in the
National Guard, said about a quarter of the soldiers in his platoon ended
their marriages while in Iraq."

>From -- "Sex and the Faithful Soldier"
The New York Times
Sunday, October 30, 2005

"In the course of my research I spent approximately four hours on line
looking for statistics on the rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, suicide,
and other family problems in the military as opposed to civilian
populations, seeking to confirm or debunk the idea of a link between
frequent transfers and societal problems. Although many sites talked a lot
about issues of divorce and family problems in the military, the military
divorce rate is a well-guarded secret. It simply cannot be found."

>From a senior thesis by Darol G. Craig, May 1999, at the Logos School in
Moscow, Idaho.


Research shows that about 20 per cent of marriages fall apart within two years when one spouse has been sent off to war. "US ARMY IN BATTLE TO CUT DIVORCE RATE" By Tom Leonard in New York (Filed: 31/12/2004)
Cited in a posting on the Smart Marriages Listserv Jan. 3 2005.

U.S. Air Force Demographics:
4.4% of active duty officers (below General) are currently divorced or annulled (according to marital status statistics, which count remarried simply as married, not divorced). This is 10.0% of female officers and 3.3% of male officers.
6.3% of active duty enlisted men and 11.1% of enlisted women are currently divorced or annulled (according to marital status statistics, which count remarried simply as married, not divorced), for a total of 7.1%
Breakdown by Grade
More specific breakdowns by other factors, such as religion, may be available from IDEAS II, The Interactive Demographics Analysis System
[Note: The pages linked to above have moved. The new address for their site in general is ]

MSgt Gordon Tatro writes:

"Veterans can not be victims of irresponsible no-fault laws [and pension division under the USFSPA] and still expect quality people to stay for a career in a PROFESSIONAL military branch of the service. It is just too scary a financial plan.

Gordon Tatro USAF, MSgt (Ret)

He also writes:

"On page "x" (in the introduction) of the 1998 book 'Divorce and the
military' (as mentioned off my web) it states that "according to 1992
statistics 40% of ranks E-7 to E-9 were divorced" it also mentions that;
"the Air Force has the highest percentage of divorced members".

Unfortunately, there are so many ways of looking at divorce (including
those that divorce twice and the time frame that they were married before
divorce) that it becomes very difficult to 'nail' this down. I have been
told by many others who have said to have heard it from authorities and
talks concerning the military that the divorce rate is above the national
rate and that the Navy has the highest amount of divorces.

SoooOOooo, what's a person to believe and do? Well, I typically
understood that the national divorce rate is 50% therefore (being logical
. . I hope) the divorce rate for the military is definitely 50%. I also
(having been in the USAF for 23 years and understanding the Navy's mission
somewhat) tend to believe that the Navy divorce rate is higher than all the
other branches of service (ships at sea, the various missions of the other
branches .. .etc etc). But, no matter how you look at it (if you can
handle the 50% figure) then that's a 'flip-of-a-coin' chance . . .pretty
poor!! But when taken further with 'no-fault' court practices and the
military member as a 'veteran' . . .then there is a REAL PROBLEM that brews
. . . and the 'rate' most certainly goes up!!

He also writes:

"I believe you should have a section that compares statistically the military divorce situation to the civilian situation. ...

"Also it would be interesting to find out the number of military people who get divorced by branch of service and type of job as compared to the civilian same or similar job. How many that go IN stay in for a career? etc. etc.. There exists a big problem of discrimination between the military marriage ethics and those of the civilian world. ..."

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Originally posted and maintained by Americans for Divorce Reform; now maintained by John Crouch. You can call me at (703) 528-6700 or e-mail me through my law office's web site.