Local News

Divorce Rates Rising Among Military Couples

Posted June 22, 2005 6:51 a.m. EDT

— A new trend in divorce rates is showing marriage to be another casualty of war.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, divorces nationwide have dropped 4 percent from 2000 to 2004.

But although marital breakups are going down, it seems an increase in military deployments is causing more divorces in military families.

Fort Bragg U.S. Army Sgt. Jazrie Myers never expected to be at the courthouse so soon after she returned from Iraq.

"Get off the plane, get home -- yeah, I'm happy. A month later, the phone calls started," Myers said.

Myers said she found out her husband had been unfaithful during her one-year deployment to Iraq. After four years, she is ending her marriage.

Numbers from the Department of Defense show the war is taking a toll on couples. Since 2000, military divorces are up about 40 percent.

Marriages of Army officers seem to be falling apart the most. Divorce rates tripled from 2000 to 2004.

Fayetteville attorney Roger Compton has handled military divorces for 26 years. He said he has been a lot busier lately, in part because of more frequent deployments.

"There's a lot more stress, a lot more pressure on families as a whole," Compton said. "They just can't readjust to living together when they get back."

The military said it is trying to help marriages stay off the battlefield. For example, the Army has a Web site with counselors on call 24/7 to work with soldiers on personal problems.

At Fort Bragg, the Army also has programs in place to help families get through extended deployments. Since the start of the war, the Army's chaplain started a new program called Building Strong and Ready Families.

Myers said she was not ready for what she came home to. "It was really hurtful because I was doing right by my family," Myers said.