Providing Access to Justice for Military Families
Dear ABA Military Pro Bono Project Members:
During this holiday season, please consider how you can continue to help our military members and their families obtain free legal counsel to resolve their civil legal problems.
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project, managed by the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP), accepts case referrals from military legal assistance offices anywhere in the world on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty servicemembers with civil legal issues, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed in the United States. Each year, hundreds of cases are referred to the program on behalf of servicemembers in need of pro bono legal assistance.
Relying entirely on donations for its operations, please consider donating to the Military Pro Bono Project—through the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, the 501(c)(3) charitable fund of the ABA—to help ensure that our servicemembers can receive the legal help that they need.
Civil legal issues can be uniquely challenging for military members who cannot afford attorneys, especially when these issues can distract them from their critical missions. Attorneys volunteering through the Military Pro Bono Project assist military families facing a variety of legal issues, including family law matters, creditor and consumer issues, foreclosure prevention, landlord-tenant disputes, and others.
Petty Officer Jacob Watson* is one of many military members who has received legal help through the Military Pro Bono Project. During the end of his deployment, Watson was informed that Child Protective Services removed his 6-year-old daughter from his ex-wife’s home and placed her with his mother, his daughter’s grandmother. When Watson and his ex-wife divorced, they agreed that the ex-wife would have primary physical child custody. However, a few years after the divorce, his ex-wife developed major substance abuse problems and could not provide a safe home.
Watson was confident that he could provide a safe and stable home for his daughter, along with consistent care with relatives if deployed again in the future, but he needed help to move through the court system. While still deployed, Watson visited a military legal assistance office, which referred this case to the Military Pro Bono Project. The program located an attorney who offered pro bono help. With the volunteer attorney’s representation, Watson successfully obtained a court order awarding him with sole custody of his child, and the mother was restricted to supervised visitation.
* This client’s name is changed to protect confidentiality.
Please visit the ABA Military Pro Bono Project website to further explore how you can help our servicemembers.
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