Why Do So Many Firefighters Get Divorced?

Understanding why firefighters experience higher divorce rates is a complex issue with various contributing factors. Firefighters, like other first responders, face unique stressors in their line of work, such as exposure to trauma, long and irregular work hours, and the constant pressure to perform under extreme conditions. The demanding nature of the job often leads to difficulties in maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which is crucial for sustaining strong marital bonds. Additionally, the inherent risks associated with firefighting can instill fear and anxiety in spouses, contributing to marital discord. At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we acknowledge the complexities surrounding why firefighters experience divorce and strive to offer comprehensive support to those managing divorce proceedings within this profession.

Our attorneys are here for you to answer questions that you may have about any subject related to Texas family law. If you have half an hour of free time, why not use it productively? Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. We have two Houston area locations- one in Humble and the other in Houston. Take the time to ask questions and receive feedback that can be incredibly valuable to you and your family during this time in your life.

What makes a firefighter different than other people?

The general public doesn’t widely believe that accountants, plumbers, or football players have higher divorce rates. Instead, professions such as firefighters, first responders, and law enforcement officers, which have higher reported divorce rates, attract more attention compared to other professions. Could these just be old wife’s tales that aren’t true? Or could it be that you have something to think hard about as a law enforcement officer when it comes to your marriage?

A good rule of thumb is to never completely trust a rumor. That is until you can substantiate the rumor and determine if there is any truth to it. If you hear from other firefighters that they are going through a tough time with their marriage and that a divorce is likely upcoming then you can probably believe them. If you hear rumors that firefighters experience higher divorce rates, you might opt to dismiss them. Again- take in the good information and throw the bad information out. We do that all the time in our lives, and it is an applicable lesson in the world of divorce, as well.

Unique challenges of firefighting: beyond marriage worries

As a firefighter, you may have concerns that go beyond merely wanting to make sure that your marriage is intact at the end of the day. From talking with many first responders including firefighters, I have come to find out that many if not most of the people who work in these areas lead lives that are atypical in many regards. Their bravery on May 2nd to none and their willingness to put aside their concerns to perform a civic duty is commendable.

The nature of being a firefighter is quite different than working in almost any other area of the economy. For one, your job is not one where you are creating anything. Rather, you are providing an essential service to our community by keeping lives on property safe firefighting means putting your life on the line and going into situations where other people are running in the opposite direction. The mindset that you have as a firefighter must be different than the mindset of most people on the street. Bravery doesn’t begin to describe the type of personality that you are likely to need to be a successful firefighter.

Navigating the unconventional lifestyle of firefighting

You also must deal with an unorthodox schedule. In an age where many more people are working remotely than they did even two years ago, fighting fires is a profession where you cannot perform the work online or from your house. Brother, firefighting requires you to get up close and personal with extremely dangerous situations. As a result, having a typical 9 to 5 schedule is not in the cards for you. Your schedule may vary from month to month or even week to week.

On top of that, you may work a second job in addition to working as a firefighter. Very firefighters work side jobs in construction, carpentry, or another trade. You may own a small business doing masonry work or may work for a firefighter as a mover or other laborer. You may even be going back to school right now to continue your education to eventually work in a field outside of firefighting. The job experience and the practical knowledge of how to solve complex problems while keeping your head on straight as one of the most invaluable lessons that a person can learn through being a firefighter. Think for a moment about how important it is for you to be able to work with one another and put out a fire. That sort of teamwork cannot be found just anywhere.

Managing firefighter schedules in divorce proceedings

Why do I emphasize the schedule aspect of being a firefighter so heavily? The reality is that having an atypical schedule is that it is not as big of a deal when you have a parent at home who could help you take care of your children. However, when you are going through a divorce you are removing your spouse from the equation and adding a burden onto both of you. Let’s talk some about how being a firefighter can impact your possession and visitation of your children after a divorce.

For starters, consider that fighting fires is not a job that lends itself to a set schedule. Unfortunately, as part of your divorce case, you will be negotiating over a specific possession and visitation schedule that calls for you to be able to reliably be present for your children when they are at home. The schedule functions optimally when both parents can reliably be there for their children. However, being a firefighter involves unpredictable and irregular working hours, often requiring immediate responses to calls.

Standard possession orders will not work for firefighters in most cases

When it comes to custody issues in Texas, a standard possession order is one of the most common ways for families to divide up time between parents and children. The hallmarks of a standard possession order include weekend visitation for the non-custodial parent as well as extended periods of visitation for that parent during the summer. For instance, as the non-custodial parent under a standard possession order, you would typically have possession of your children on the first, 3rd, and 5th weekends of each month. Furthermore, extended periods of possession during summers and alternating holidays with the co-parent aim to equalize the time spent with the children between both parents.

Navigating standard possession orders for co-parenting stability

Granted, it is very difficult to position yourself to have the same amount of time with your children as your Co-parent. However, judges frequently opt for a standard possession order as it is included in the Texas family code, serving as a solid starting point for dividing time between parents. We can see that for most families a standard position order allows a predictable and routine schedule to develop which is beneficial for everyone. For parents, it removes the uncertainty of when they are going to be with their children. For children, it provides some stability and consistency in being able to spend time with both parents. Your children will not be left wondering the next time they will be able to see you or your Co-parent.

In most cases where a standard possession order is applied, the start and end times of each possession period are highly specific. For instance, weekend visitations often commence at 6:00 PM on Fridays and conclude at 6:00 PM on Sundays, with precise times outlined in the orders. While this may seem rigid, it’s intended to offer clarity to both parents involved. The last thing you want to do let’s find yourself in a position where you disagree with your Co-parent about a one-up period of possession begins or ends.

Challenges of standard custody orders for Houston firefighters

Even those of us with typical jobs with typical schedules can struggle to make sure that they are always available at the designated time and location for each period of possession under a typical child custody order in Texas. Living in Houston means traveling great distances and oftentimes dealing with bad traffic, deadlines at work, and things of this nature. I am willing to bet that every parent who has ever had possession of their children under a standard possession order has countered at least one instance per year where a conflict of some sort has made visitation an impossibility at some point. This does not make them bad parents but rather subject to constraints and limitations beyond their control.

When it comes to you as a firefighter, you must concern yourself with a range of issues regarding your schedule. The most important of which is that you in the best of times work a schedule that requires you to be on call around the clock likely. If you can arrange your schedule to always work during the middle of the week when it would not conflict with your time with the kids, this may not be an issue for you. However, most firefighters are not in that position. You may work a rolling schedule, for example, where you will have to work weekends on a rotating basis. Working on the weekends means that eventually, you will find yourself in a position where you cannot take your children on a weekend that would otherwise be yours.

Utilizing the right of first refusal in custody arrangements

If you have a standard possession order this means that you will very frequently need to work with your Co-parent to arrange for him or her, to be with your children on that weekend. This is an opportune moment to highlight the importance of including a right of first refusal in your child custody orders. A right of first refusal requires you to check with your parent on a weekend that would otherwise be yours. For example, if you find out at the last minute that you are working a weekend shift and cannot take your children then the right of first refusal would require you to contact your Co-parent and give him or her the option to take the kids that weekend.

Your Co-parent could choose to take the children if they get back to you in a certain amount of time otherwise, your Co-parent could choose not to take the kids at which time you would be able to have someone else step in to care for the children on your weekend. The reality is that most of the time your Co-parent would likely take the kids even when it is not their weekend. However, your Co-parent may have a conflicting schedule on a particular weekend. In that case, you may need to work with a family member of yours to take the children that weekend. Hopefully, this would not be a regular occurrence, but it is something to work on if conflicts occur.

Getting divorced as a firefighter means having to plan ahead

So far in today’s blog post, we have discussed the stress, anxiety, scheduling issues, and other topics that may impact firefighters’ propensity to get divorced more often than non-firefighters. While it is important to share this kind of information it is also important to be able to acknowledge that we are painting with A broad brush. I am making general statements about firefighters that otherwise may be unnecessary in real life. This is because if I were able to talk to you about your life and circumstances and I could probably figure out whether you are more likely or less likely than the average person to get divorced.

Navigating divorce: considerations for firefighters

Without the advantage of being able to speak to you personally, we must contend with making general statements about firefighters as a profession. It is possible that you are taking stress home with you and that is impacting your ability to keep up with your marriage in terms of meeting the challenges of it head-on. Ultimately the reasons why you get divorced are personal to you, your family, and your spouse. I would not be able to say exactly why you are getting divorced. However, Your work likely plays a significant role and the issues related to your work and your marriage can be diverse.

Working with an experienced family law attorney during your divorce can be one of the best leg-ups that you can give to yourself and your family during a challenging time like this. One of the questions you may be asking is how you can even work with an attorney given your schedule. same challenges that present themselves in terms of being able to work with a schedule to see her children could also apply to meeting with an attorney.

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan work tirelessly for our clients. We know that many of you Work hours that are not compatible with normal business hours for an attorney. For that reason, we consult six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. We do so to give you every opportunity available to you to learn more about family law in Texas and how your life figures into This equation. You may not I have a firm grasp of what being a firefighter means to Your potential divorce. Speaking with one of our attorneys can help you learn more about that.

In other words, your divorce is as unique as you and your family. To be able to learn more about the process and how your life could be impacted by divorce. when do you need information, the Internet is not a bad place to go? However, ultimately to learn more about divorce you need to learn about how it impacts your life. meeting with one of our attorneys is the best way to do this and it is an efficient use of your time even when you are busy as can be serving your community.


Understanding the complex dynamics behind why firefighters get divorced sheds light on the challenges inherent in their profession and personal lives. While the demanding nature of firefighting can strain relationships, seeking professional support and legal guidance is a proactive step towards preserving marital stability. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is committed to offering compassionate support to firefighters navigating divorce, acknowledging the unique challenges they encounter. By addressing the specific needs and concerns of firefighters, we aim to offer comprehensive support and guidance to individuals and families navigating this challenging transition with resilience and clarity.


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  1. Why Do First Responders Have a High Divorce Rate?
  2. Why Do First Responders Get Divorced?
  3. How Can We Honor Our First Responders and Military Now
  4. Divorce considerations as a firefighter
  5. What matters most to firefighters in a divorce?
  6. Firefighter visitation schedules for those who work 24-hour shifts
  7. Do firefighters have a high divorce rate?
  8. Child custody issues for Texas firefighters
  9. Divorce and firefighters
  10. Texas Divorce and Firefighter Child Custody Possession Order?

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