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Servicemember Divorces Abusive, Dependant Spouse with Pro Bono Attorney Help

February 26, 2016

An Air Force servicemember was married to an active-duty military member who was incarcerated for acts of domestic violence against her. The servicemember’s spouse was also due to be discharged from the military because of his misconduct, in which case he would become a dependent requiring financial support from the servicemember. Therefore, the servicemember, who was stationed abroad, determined that she needed assistance in procuring a divorce from her spouse prior to him becoming her dependent. Because the servicemember’s military legal assistance attorney was prohibited by the military from assisting in filing or procuring her divorce, the ABA Military Pro Bono Project quickly referred the servicemember to a pro bono attorney to assist her. Within a few months, the volunteer attorney was able to make several court appearances on the servicemember’s behalf, engage in communications and negotiations with the opposing party, draft the required documents and ultimately procure a stipulated judgment for dissolution.  As a result of the volunteer attorney’s expert legal assistance, the servicemember could continue her military duties without concern for any physical or financial ties to an abusive spouse.

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