Why Can’t I Use a Military JAG Attorney for My Va. Beach Divorce?

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 by Katie Carter

Why Can't I Use a Military JAG Attorney for My Va. Beach Divorce?

Servicemembers (and their dependents) can receive free military counsel for the preparation of wills and powers of attorney. Servicemembers accused of crimes in the military justice system are also afforded free military defense counsel. BUT, when it comes to divorce and child custody matters, these cases are handled in the state courts.

As a prerequisite to becoming a JAG attorney in any of the services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard), the lawyer must be licensed to practice law in “one of the” 50 states. Oftentimes a military attorney is stationed in a state other than the one in which he or she is licensed. Thus, the attorney, not licensed in the state in which he or she is stationed, cannot go into the civilian courts to represent the military servicemember. As a policy, the military does not expect the taxpayer to help fund legal actions beyond a certain limited domain. Divorce and child custody case representation, while extremely important, do not fall under the umbrella of JAG military attorney services.

HOWEVER, with that said, you can always walk into a Base Legal Office and ask for free general advice about the divorce process. And here is the dirty little secret…once you speak with a Military Attorney at that Base Legal Office, you have now conflicted your spouse from receiving any advice from any of the attorneys in that office!

There are very specific rules governing divorce in Virginia. At Hofheimer Family Law Firm we are committed to providing you with the experience and compassion you deserve and the successful results you need to move on with your life. Request a FREE copy of our divorce guide for women in Virginia, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.