Veterans and divorce: when problems reach a tipping point
It's no secret that financial stress can be a key factor in causing divorce. Such stresses can happen to both military families and civilian ones alike. But there are also certain specific challenges that servicemembers and veterans tend to face.
Many veterans struggle with serious injuries sustained while on active duty. This includes tens of thousands of veterans with traumatic brain injuries.
For those who served, the Veterans Administration is supposed to provide care. But veterans who come home from war often face a Catch-22 in obtaining the help they need. This is because the VA was created to assist them, but not necessarily their families.
In fact, the lack of support from the VA, and society as a whole, has caused many veterans to become homeless. The VA has taken only a few small baby steps trying to respond. This includes limited amounts of short-term funds to help with down payments on housing, utility bills and other pressing issues.
For veterans trying to make their marriages work, the issues sometimes go well beyond financial stress and obvious injuries. There are also many female veterans and military wives dealing with emotional trauma from assaults they have suffered. Here, too, the VA is starting to respond, and has begun organizing programs for women suffering from military sexual trauma.
Overall, then, awareness of the challenges that contribute to the decision to get a divorce in military families is gradually increasing. For veterans trying to reintegrate into civilian life, however, the strain that a host of problems has put on their marriages may be too much. And when such a point of no return is reached in a relationship, a divorce may be in order.
Source: "Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home," The New York Times, Patricia Leigh Brown, 2-27-13
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