Firefighters and Divorce
You might have heard that firefighters get divorced at a higher rate than the general public. Many websites hype this “fact” and even claim that the rate of divorce is astronomical when compared to other members of the public. There is a great deal of exaggeration in these claims.
Nevertheless, many firefighters do get divorced and it might be useful to ponder why. A Wilmington divorce attorney takes a deep dive into this issue.
Do Firefighters Divorce More than Other People?
It depends. According to research, slightly more male firefighters are divorced than the general population. For example, around 12% of male firefighters are divorced, and the number for the general population is 9.4%. However, many more male firefighters are married in the first place—77% compared to 57.5% for the general public. Research also shows that firefighters are more likely to stay in a first marriage than other members of the public.
Female firefighters, by contrast, do in fact have a much higher divorce rate than other women. The divorce rate for female firefighters was 32% compared to 10.4% for the general population—roughly three times higher.
Of course, the majority of firefighters are male, so the meme that “firefighter divorce rates are high” is definitely misleading. The rate is higher for female firefighters but comparable for men.
Why Do Firefighters Divorce?
No one has really asked this question. In reality, they probably divorce for many of the same reasons as other members of the public—incompatibility and growing apart, which are common reasons.
The stress of being a firefighter probably also contributes to divorce. Research out of Canada has shown that about 50% of firefighters reported that it was stressful to maintain romantic relationships while working as a firefighter. There could be some easily identifiable reasons for this fact:
- A firefighter’s schedule can be disruptive. It is harder to maintain a normal home life if someone is always being called to respond to a fire.
- A firefighter could be traumatized at work. Many firefighters see their colleagues and members of the public die. They can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, which puts a strain on romantic relationships.
- A firefighter could be physically injured at work. This also increases stress, both emotional and financial. Financial stress, in particular, has led to more than one divorce.
The ever-present risk to firefighters could also create anxiety in a marriage, which increases stress even if a firefighter is never actually injured on the job. Men who marry female firefighters might be completely unprepared for what they are signing up for, so they get divorced.
Contact Speaks Family Law Firm
A firefighter’s divorce is really no different than anyone else’s. Couples have different paths they follow to divorce court, and an experienced family law attorney can help make the process go as smoothly as possible.
If you are thinking about divorce, or if you have received divorce papers, please contact Speaks Family Law, PC, today to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Speaks Law Firm, PC Family Law Division
300 N. 3rd St. Suite 310
Wilmington, NC 28401