Choosing a career is one of the most important steps that a person and can go through. The career that you choose can have major implications for the rest of your life. Consider that your career not only will determine the type of income that you earn but possibly the type of person that you end up marrying, where you live, the number of children that you have, your friends, and other important parts of your life. Selecting the career path that is right for you or makes a huge difference in your life for the better. Making a mistake when choosing your career path or having to make multiple changes in your career with time likely will not be for the best.
If you think about it, the idea of choosing what you do for a living is a recent notion in terms of history. For centuries, we as people sort of just did whatever we could to earn enough money to put food on the table and have a place to call home. Maybe if our parents worked in a certain trade we were raised in that trade and therefore had the skills necessary to continue in it with time. I don’t mean to give you a history lesson or get too deep into these waters, but the fact of the matter is that the ability to choose your career is a pretty cool thing. It sure beats having their career chosen for you or having to do something by default.
If you have chosen a path in your career for military service, then you have made the ultimate commitment. Military service does not have to be a lifelong commitment but undoubtedly you would have signed up for a certain period of your life to serve our nation. Without a doubt, sacrifice is a huge part of serving in the military. While you may be able to follow your interest to a certain extent in performing certain jobs and functions within the military for the most part you are told where you are needed to work based on your skills and the needs of the military.
On top of that, you may be given options at some point in your career to be able to choose where you live but at first, you will be told where you are needed and have no choice but to report there. This can be quite a shock to the system of many young people who may have never left home or ventured that far outside of their hometown or state. However, those of you who are called to military service surely has great aspirations not only for your ability to serve your nation but for yourself. Many people come out of the military with skills that will serve them well for the rest of their professional careers.
The benefits of military service, both to our nation and to you as an individual, do not come without drawbacks. As we just mentioned a moment ago some of the most difficult parts of military service have to do with the lack of personal autonomy over the work that you perform as well as where you perform it. Many of you reading this blog post I am sure I understand this sacrifice most acutely. Foreign conflicts in the Middle East and across the globe find troops from our country serving the interests of our nation. Some of these situations have been quite dangerous and have resulted in the loss of life of thousands of American soldiers, airmen, and others. Without a doubt, you signed up with the military with an understanding that your life may never be the same after service has been completed.
One of the sacrifices that military members make in terms of their daily lives and relationships is regarding their marriage period if you are married and entering the service there is a chance that your family may be able to come with you to wherever you are deployed or stationed. On-base housing for families is sometimes available in your schedule and may even allow for a somewhat normal home life for you and your family. On the other hand, you may be in a situation where you do not get to bring your spouse or kids with you when you are deployed or stationed somewhere. I think this is more of the norm than being able to take your family with you.
The loneliness and Sacrifice go hand in hand. Imagine a situation where you are a young married military member whose marriage is no more than a few months old periods you and your spouse chose to get married and go on your honeymoon just before you were deployed overseas. While your spouse said that she understands the sacrifice that goes into this situation it is only normal to find that once deployment begins, she was not prepared for the damage that could be done to your young marriage due to your not being at home. Even though you made every effort to connect with your spouse while overseas there is no substitute for being present in the home with her.
Research indicates that military members have some of the highest divorce rates of any career. This is especially true for those of you military members who are under the age of 30. We have already walked through some of the factors that may have led to this study producing the results that it did. The stresses, time away, and other residual issues of military service can explain a great deal of this. Especially if you have seen and experienced things that are traumatic those experiences can stick with you long after the experience in question. As a result, maintaining a relationship like a marriage can be easier said than done.
For starters, those members of the military who supervised and listed service members in military operations have some of the highest divorce rates of any military member. The stresses, time commitments, and time away from home for these service members most likely have negative impacts on their marriages. If you have ever led service members on missions or other tactical jobs and you understand the difficulties associated with this work. Those difficulties can bring out the best in you when it comes to your work but may cause your personal life to suffer.
Next, members of the military who handle air weapons and other operations associated with highly tactical operations also experienced divorce at high rates. These jobs do not allow people to perform their work and go home at night. To be based far from home and not have the ability to have your family with you in the home it can be something extremely difficult to work through. While you may do your best to focus as much time and attention on your marriage as possible your physical absence from the home can and oftentimes does matter more than any other effort that you put into your marriage from afar.
It is not only your physical absence from the home that may lead to an increased risk of divorce for you as a military member. Additionally, there is often some readjustment necessary when you were able to get home. This is ironic given how families look forward to the opportunity for their military service members to come home and finally make the household complete. However, as with any change in the environment, you will return home may bring with it specific challenges that may increase rather than decrease the likelihood of a divorce. Let’s walk through your time away and the transition time as you ease back into the household can increase the likelihood of a divorce.
Coming home may not solve all the problems in your marriage
Some of you reading this blog post have been deployed multiple times away from home. It is not uncommon to have someone deployed, return home briefly only to be redeployed to the same or another location. Circumstances on the ground change a great deal in even short amounts of time when conflict is ongoing. Or various military projects may require your assistance. Whatever the case maybe it is important for you to understand that so much of this equation is out of your hands in terms of your ability to maintain a strong marriage. Even the most diligent and caring individual would have trouble maintaining a strong marriage after multiple redeployments.
The continued physical and mental challenges associated with deployment cannot be understated. Either you or a person that you are close to may have post-traumatic stress disorder. This is a relatively common diagnosis made by doctors for military members who have seen active conflict or other traumatic events occur while in the military. The military has certain methods of treating these conditions with therapy, counseling, and medication. However, sometimes those methods are not ineffective then you run the risk of suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder for an ongoing. Even after your military service has come to an end.
Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are incredibly important when discussing the fate of your marriage and whether you and your spouse are likely to get a divorce. Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression change the chemistry of your brain such that you can come back to the states as a completely different person than you were before. This is not a guarantee, or something intended to worry you. However, it is necessary to acknowledge that seeing certain things in conflict can have a profound impact on your mental health.
You may find, for example, that you are unable to relate to your spouse as you were able to before deployment. You may have become so accustomed to military life and the nature of being a member of the military that you are finding it hard to adjust back to civilian life. Your spouse may be incredibly accommodating of your limitations right now and you may be seeking out experienced counselors and therapists to help with this transition period however, being in the trenches so to speak on an extended basis can change a person. Even a great deal of therapy while back in the states may not be enough to fully reintegrate you.
Imagine a situation where you have been sent home after a long stay in a different country. While the idea of being at home may sound great to you the realities of that home may be much different than what you left before deployment. It is not uncommon for a military spouse to give birth to a baby while the father is overseas. Coming home you may find that your spouse he’s a physically different person after childbirth. Most importantly, having an infant or baby in the home can certainly change the feel of things. This will require an adjustment by all parties. Since your life has been so regimented over an extended period being able to Adjust to a life that requires you to do dirt different things at different times can be difficult for many people.
Next, you need to consider the difficulties associated with finding employment if you have been discharged from military service. While many people who have served in the military have been able to acquire skills and experience that will translate directly into the private sector workforce, you may not have been as fortunate. While the military does have services and programs available to help veterans find work when they return home it is not always as easy for everyone to locate a good-paying job. As a result, you may be discharged from the military with no plan in place as far as locating sustained employment.
That you used to have a purpose in terms of your work and now our left trying to search for employment can be a huge point of contention for a family. Having mental health challenges only adds to these difficulties. you may find that upon returning to this country you have issues when it comes to interacting with others, concentration persistence, or keeping up with the pace of certain work. Even taking medication and receiving regular mental health counseling may not be enough to overcome these challenges.
As a result, finding employment could be easier said than done. I have worked with many military members who have told me that once they come back to the United States and begin to work their initial forays into the economy may only last for a short period. The reason for this is that they simply underestimated the effort that it would take from a mental standpoint to maintain employment. Having to miss substantial time from work or even being off task to a degree where maintaining employment is impossible or realities for military members as they return home from deployment.
All of these stresses and shortcomings can easily become a distraction at home and a source of consternation for you. Even if it is not your intention to do so your spouse may bear the brunt of these problems. Remember that your spouse is also dealing with the transition period as you begin to reacclimate yourself to living with your spouse. He or she was likely becoming used to living alone and apart from you. Now that you are back home simply being able to elbow with another person in a closed environment can be a lot to handle. as a result, you may need to seek marriage counseling in addition to any other counseling, but you receive.
Specific challenges and divorce for military families
While every pair person who goes through a divorce faces challenges, military families faced unique challenges with both children and financial issues. when it comes to your children, there are stresses associated with being able to ensure that you have a visitation schedule with them that is conducive to their best interests as well as to your commitments to the military. There is a thin tightrope that you must walk in terms of being able to have a court order that accommodates your military service as much as possible but one that is clear cut and allows for some degree of routine for your children and being able to spend time both with you and your spouse.
On the financial side of things, military members have pensions and retirement savings concerns that most civilians do not have. There are specific rules that relate to the division of a military member’s retirement. if you do end up needing a divorce you must have counsel and advice regarding these subjects. The last thing you want to do is make a bad situation like divorce and make it worse by not understanding the complexities of Community property division as it relates to your military retirement and other benefits.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. If you are interested in learning more about military divorces why not look at our blog? We have written many posts regarding military divorce that may be helpful to you and your family.