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This Week’s Pro Bono Success Story

May 19, 2010

A Navy servicemember, stationed in Europe, married a man who had severe alcohol problems. She did not know the extent of her husband’s alcohol problem before they got married. After she realized how bad it was, she asked her husband to get treatment for his alcoholism. He refused and the marriage continued to suffer. Meanwhile, the sailor grew more depressed and her personal life and her Naval career suffered. The husband was sent home to the United States by the command. Before his return home, the couple drafted a written agreement to divide their property upon divorce. Both agreed they would divorce once the husband was back in the United States. After he arrived back home, he no longer wanted a divorce, but he still refused treatment for his alcohol abuse. The servicemember was faced with having to file a contested divorce back in the United States and was unable to afford to retain an attorney. The Military Pro Bono Project was ultimately able to find a California attorney to represent the servicemember for no fee. To make matters more complicated, the husband moved to another state and his whereabouts were difficult to ascertain. The pro bono attorney prevailed and a divorce was granted despite the husband’s efforts to avoid service. Without pro bono help, this servicemember might still be trapped in a very bad relationship.

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