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Military Divorce Rates = Good News?

Newly released DoD statistics show that the overall military divorce rate leveled off in 2010 after a consistent increase over the previous five years, my story on Military.com reported last week.

The folks at the Pentagon say that the rate didn’t uptick like it has in the past because all those family support programs we’ve been talking about are working.

Of course, not everyone agrees with that statement, including an expert in military divorce rates and the people of the organization Blue Star Families. Even Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver, Army chief of chaplains, told us in a recent interview that he doesn’t think the Army’s most widely used marriage support program, Strong Bonds, is meeting more than 10 percent of the service’s needs.

The rate has risen from 2.6 percent to 3.6 percent since 2001 but stayed at 3.6 percent between fiscal 2009 and 2010.

There are also alternate theories as to why the overall divorce rate didn’t change last year. A recent report said that overall civilian divorce rates are down thanks to the bad economy. While Benjamin Karney, a military divorce researcher with the RAND Corporation, warns us that analogies between civilian and military divorce rates can be highly inaccurate since they are two very different populations, there could be something there.

Read the divorce story here and tell us what you think — is this news a sign that the military really is doing enough to help military marriages? Could the bad economy be at play, or is it simply a fluke?

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.