Finding an Attorney

Your installation legal assistance office is the best place to start. A Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer can provide guidance on military benefits, offer a referral to a civilian attorney within the local area, and may be able to review a separation agreement. Generally a legal assistance office can only offer guidance to the service member or spouse, but not both, because that would be a conflict of interest. Additionally, a JAG officer cannot represent a client in a family law court.

Since divorce law is governed by state law, it may be helpful to find an attorney who specializes in family law and is also familiar with military benefits. If your primary attorney isn’t familiar with military benefits, you may want to consider hiring an attorney familiar with military benefits as a consultant for your case.

Your state bar association can provide you with a list of attorneys who practice family law in your state or the Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys can provide a list of attorneys who are certified by the academy as family law specialists. Take some time to research attorneys in your area. Many law firms will offer a free consultation or charge a small fee to provide basic advice on your rights within the state. It is important to have an attorney who understands both state family law issues as well as military benefits.

Resources

Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys   

How to Find a Military Divorce Attorney

Resources for Attorneys

American Bar Association Family Law Section Military Committee

DFAS Attorney Instructions for Dividing Retired Pay and Sample Language for Court Orders

Quick Reference Guide for Family Court Judges

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