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Women Serving in the Military Have Higher Divorce Rates


As South Carolina divorce lawyers we deal with many divorces involving military families. These cases raise a number of issues that are unique and different to civilian divorces. Military break-ups may be becoming more prevalent amid evidence that women who are serving in the military face elevated divorce rates.

A report published last month on KCET.TV stated women comprise 15 percent of America's active duty force and have a divorce rate nearly three time higher than their male counterparts.

Their husbands face similar emotional challenges to military wives during break-ups but are more likely to feel isolated, according to the report.

"It's something that you see and feel almost every day," said Fort Hood Army husband David Allen.

He said he has felt the pressures of being a man married to the service and military spouses can feel helpless. Inevitably this feeling of isolation can increase the pressures on the relationship.

He said when it comes to talking about the challenges faced by military spouses, he found local spouse groups to be welcoming, yet geared toward women.

That was especially true when his wife's career took them to Germany. "It was 274 women and me, and a lot of men might be intimidated by that," he said.

The report said David has found camaraderie thanks to an online organization called Macho Spouse, which boasts an online forum created for men by men.

Macho Spouse creator Chris Pape, an Air Force spouse based in San Antonio in Texas, said the group encounters issues such as depression and isolation among military spouses due to a lack of support groups for men.

Military divorces in South Carolina entail a number of unique issues compared to a typical civilian divorce, and a raft of specific state and federal laws come into play.

For example, there are specific laws to protect active duty military members from being held in "default" if they fail to respond to a divorce action. Without these laws a serviceman or woman on active duty could be divorced without knowing it.

Under the terms of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, and in the discretion of the local South Carolina court, a divorce action may be postponed for the complete period of time the active service member is on duty and for another 60 days after. This is often invoked when an active member of the U.S. military is serving in a war zone. Also the right to have the divorce proceedings postponed may be waived by any active duty member should he or she wish to a divorce.

In order for a court in South Carolina to have jurisdiction over an active military member, an active duty spouse must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the divorce action.

There are also specific residency and filing requirements in South Carolina. You or your spouse must live in the state and be stationed in South Carolina. Being in the military can also have a bearing on property division and child support. See our Columbia, SC divorce attorneys' information on military divorces for further details. Call Masella Law at 803.748.9990 if you are in the military and need assistance with your divorce action.

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