CLICK HERE to read a short article written by a client of a volunteer attorney with the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. This article, “How the Military Pro Bono Project Saved My Family,” was published in the Grand Forks Air Force Base news.
A soldier owned a condo that was being foreclosed by his homeowner’s association (HOA). The soldier did not receive notice about any past due payments or the HOA’s intent to foreclose the property. When the soldier attempted to make an association payment, he received notice from the HOA that it had foreclosed its lien on his condo and that the payment was too late to stop the foreclosure. The soldier visited a military legal assistance office, which referred the soldier’s case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. Through the Project, a volunteer attorney helped reach a favorable settlement of nearly $20,000 from the HOA, and the case was dismissed. The volunteer attorney also provided assistance to restore the soldier’s credit, which the HOA had wrongfully damaged.
A young Air Force servicemember was deployed in Afghanistan and needed a divorce. There were no children of the marriage, and household possessions had already been divided. However, because the servicemember was deployed, he needed help to move forward with the divorce in his home state. He visited a military legal assistance attorney in Afghanistan, who referred the case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project to seek a volunteer attorney. The Project located an attorney who helped with a settlement agreement. With this resolved, the servicemember could focus on his duties in Afghanistan without worrying about his divorce.
An Army servicemember and his wife visited a military legal assistance attorney, because they were concerned about a custody hearing concerning their nieces. The soldier and his wife had temporary custody of their young nieces, because the children’s mother was incarcerated. They filed for custody pro se, but the biological father retained counsel to contest their custody. The military family was very worried, because the biological father had not been involved in the children’s lives, he never provided child support, and he had a criminal record and mental health problems. The military family’s JAG referred this case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which located a pro bono attorney to help. Although the father fought for custody, the volunteer attorney successfully helped the military family retain permanent sole legal and physical custody of their nieces—giving these children a safe and stable home.
An Army servicemember stationed in Hawaii was coerced into signing a contract after a spot delivery by a car dealership. The soldier was told that he could not leave without signing the contract. The financing agreement permitted the lender to garnish payments directly from the soldier’s paycheck. Concerned about what had happened, the soldier visited a military legal assistance office. The military attorney referred the soldier to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which connected the soldier with a volunteer attorney to help with this consumer law issue. With the attorney’s help with negotiations, the car dealership accepted the return of the vehicle and arranged a cancellation of the loan. In addition, the dealership reimbursed the soldier for all pervious car payments, along with other expenses that the soldier had incurred.
Through the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, an attorney successfully assisted a young Navy servicemember with a landlord-tenant dispute that involved the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The Sailor received notice that he would be deployed on a ship for a year. Two months before his deployment, to terminate the lease, the Sailor provided written notice to his landlord, along with a letter from his Commanding Officer that stated his deployment dates. However, while deployed, the Sailor learned that his former landlord ignored his notice, and a debt collector was working to retrieve the alleged unpaid rent after the deployment of several thousand dollars. The ABA Military Pro Bono Project connected the Sailor with a volunteer attorney. Through communications with the landlord about the SCRA violation, the attorney promptly resolved the matter with the landlord, who withdrew the claim against the Sailor. In turn, the young Sailor was released from this legal concern and he could focus on his military mission.
After an Air Force servicemember’s mother passed away, he needed pro bono help to be appointed as his little brother’s guardian. Despite the tragic situation, the servicemember was confident that he could provide his little brother with stable housing, physical and emotional well-being, and needed medical care. The child’s biological father is still alive, but he abandoned the child years ago. After discussing the situation with a military legal assistance attorney, the servicemember was referred to the ABA Military Pro Bon Project, which located a volunteer attorney to help. The civilian attorney promptly helped the servicemember successfully receive guardianship over his little brother.