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With Volunteer Attorney’s Help, Marine is Granted Custody of Niece

May 1, 2020

A Marine’s niece was left without a guardian after the child’s parents were both imprisoned. The Marine and his wife were given power of attorney by the child’s parents to care for her temporarily, but another family member wanted custody of the child, and harassed the Marine and his wife, claiming that they kidnapped the child. This family member had legal problems of his own, as well as a poor relationship with the child. Worried that their niece may be taken by a family member who was unfit to care for her, the Marine and his wife realized they needed help to navigate the legal system and to seek a more permanent solution to the custody dispute.

The Marine and his wife visited a legal assistance office and were referred to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. An experienced attorney volunteered to help the couple. With the help of their volunteer attorney, the Marine and his wife were granted custody of their niece, giving the child a safe home, and the Marine and his wife peace of mind.

Parents of Sailor Obtain Guardianship of Disabled Child with Help of Volunteer Attorney

April 20, 2020

A Navy servicemember has a disabled son. When his son turned 18, the Sailor and his wife realized they needed to seek guardianship over him in order to continue to make decisions for the son and provide him with military medical care, as he did not have the capacity to execute a power of attorney. The Sailor and his wife would have struggled to afford an attorney, and they visited a legal assistance attorney for help.

The Sailor’s case was referred to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which placed the case with a volunteer attorney. The volunteer attorney successfully helped the Sailor and his wife get a court order appointing them as their son’s guardians. With this, the Sailor and his wife can continue to provide needed care and medical attention to their adult son.

Volunteer Attorneys Help Airman Revoke Paternity Acknowledgement After He Learned of Girlfriend’s Affair That Led to Child’s Birth

March 30, 2020

An Airman’s girlfriend became pregnant, and he was present for the birth of the child and signed an acknowledgement of paternity. However, the Airman later became suspicious that he was not the father of the child. After several months of suspicion, he took it upon himself get a DNA test. The paternity test confirmed what he feared; that he was not the father of the child. He confronted his girlfriend, who confirmed that she had an affair and the Airman was not the father. Heartbroken and concerned about his financial and other obligations to this child, he visited a legal assistance office, who then referred him to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project.

The Project was able to connect the Airman with a team of experienced attorneys who quickly took action in court. The volunteer attorneys were able to procure an order revoking the Acknowledgment of Paternity the Airman signed the day of the child’s birth. The child’s biological father was thrilled to hear the news that he was the child’s father, and intends to provide support and participate in the child’s life. The Airman is now free to move on without any financial obligation to a child that is not his own.

Sailor Obtains Favorable Settlement Against Dealership with Pro Bono Help

February 14, 2020

A Navy servicemember contracted with a dealership to sell his motorcycle on consignment. In the signed agreement, the dealership agreed to pay the lienholder for the motorcycle with the profits collected upon its sale. The dealership sold the motorcycle, but failed to notify the servicemember or pay the lienholder.

The Sailor visited his military legal assistance office and a military attorney referred the Sailor to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The Project connected the Sailor with an experienced volunteer attorney. The pro bono attorney was able to settle the matter in the Sailor’s favor.

Sailor Avoids Termination of his Parental Rights and Establishes Custody with Help of Pro Bono Attorney

January 10, 2020

A Navy servicemember learned that he was the father of a young child after being notified of an upcoming hearing to terminate his parental rights due to abandonment. Prior to the notice of the hearing, he had no idea that he was the minor child’s father. He wanted to maintain his parental rights in order to establish a relationship with the child, so he went to his legal assistance office for help.

A military attorney referred him to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, and the Project then connected the Sailor with an attorney who spent dozens of hours fighting for the Sailor’s rights. In the end, the Sailor was not only able to avoid the termination of his parental rights, but he also was able to establish custody, and him and his family have since developed a wonderful bond with his child.

Airman and Disabled Veteran Spouse Reach Favorable Settlement After Being Sued by Contractor

December 19, 2019

An Air Force servicemember and his wife, a disabled veteran, hired a contractor to make necessary repairs to their home and roof. The family paid the full price for the repairs up front, as required by the contract. However, the contractor never finished the repairs, and sued the military family for an alleged remaining balance of several thousand dollars. With their home still damaged and now facing a lawsuit, the Airman visited a military legal assistance office to discuss the situation and seek help.

A military attorney referred him to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, and the Project then connected the Airman with an experienced attorney who assisted in fighting the contractor’s lawsuit. After several months of litigation, the pro bono attorney was able to avoid a lengthy trial. The contractor agreed to a favorable settlement for the Airman and his family, and the case was dismissed.

With Help of Volunteer Attorney, Sailor is Able to Modify Custody Order to Exercise his Visitation Rights

December 4, 2019

A Navy servicemember had a child custody order that provided visitation for the servicemember every other weekend, along with one evening per week. The Sailor then moved out of state, and was therefore no longer able to exercise his visitation time according to the schedule in the custody order.

The Sailor sought help from a military legal assistance office, and a military attorney referred him to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The Project connected the Sailor with an experienced attorney who sought to modify the original custody order so that the Sailor could exercise his visitation rights. He was eventually granted the modification, allowing him to see his child. Additionally, the pro bono attorney continued to represent the Sailor when the child’s other parent sought to have child support modified, and the parties came to an agreement in mediation with the help of the Sailor’s attorney.

Volunteer Attorney Helps Air Force Servicemember Reach Favorable Settlement with Landlord Lawsuit

November 25, 2019

An Air Force servicemember moved into a rental home with the promise from the landlord that some problems with the home would be fixed before she moved in with her children. When the servicemember moved into the home, there were still ongoing problems, including no hot water. This was not resolved for several days, as the landlord refused to respond to the servicemember’s communications. After the issue was resolved, the landlord made it clear to the servicemember that they did not want to be bothered for so-called “easy fixes.” The servicemember found another water problem in her kitchen that she deemed minor, so she purchased materials to fix it herself. After thinking it was successfully fixed, she briefly left the home but, after returning, she found that the home was flooded. Claiming that the water damages were from the servicemember’s negligent actions, the landlord’s insurance company brought a lawsuit against the servicemember for over $30,000 in damages.


As a single mother, losing this case would be financially detrimental for her and her family, so she visited a military legal assistance office to seek help. Recognizing that this servicemember needed a volunteer attorney to represent her in court, a military legal assistance attorney referred her to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which then connected her with an attorney who offered to provide pro bono representation. The pro bono attorney was able to secure a very favorable settlement, such that the servicemember was only required to pay $500 in damages.

Pro Bono Attorneys Help Parents Get Guardianship Over Incapacitated Navy Son, and Subsequently Help Terminate the Guardianship When Servicemember Miraculously Recovers

March 13, 2019

After a horrific motorcycle accident, a Navy servicemember suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and was left in a long-term incapacitated state. Due to the servicemember’s condition, his parents sought to be named as his guardians, allowing them to handle his medical and legal decisions moving forward. Distraught and confused, the servicemember’s parents visited a military legal assistance office to seek help, where a military attorney referred them to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The program connected the servicemember’s parents with pro bono attorneys who successfully achieved the parents’ goal—they were appointed as the guardians and conservators of their son.

However, approximately four months later, the servicemember started showing remarkable progress in his recovery. The volunteer attorneys from the prior case became re-involved, and after reviewing a report from the servicemember’s treating physician, they filed a Petition to Modify or Terminate Guardianship and Conservatorship. Recently, the petition was granted, and the court entered an order terminating the parents’ guardianship. While the servicemember’s recovery is still ongoing, his rights have been fully restored.

Pro Bono Attorney Helps Navy Servicemember Receive Favorable Settlement with Auto Finance Company

January 30, 2019

Before joining the Navy, a servicemember purchased a vehicle from a car dealership with a loan provided by an auto finance company. Initially, the interest rate of the loan was 24%; however, when the servicemember enlisted, he requested the loan be reduced to 6%, which is a relief listed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). In violation of the SCRA, the auto finance company failed to take any actions, and it continued to charge the servicemember the original interest rate.

With concerns about his ability to pay the 24% interest rate, the Navy servicemember visited a military legal assistance office to discuss the situation. A JAG issued a demand letter to the auto finance company and subsequently entered negotiations with them; however, the auto finance company still failed to resolve the matter. The JAG then referred the case to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project, which connected the servicemember with an attorney who offered to provide pro bono representation. With the volunteer attorney’s assistance, the servicemember and auto finance company entered into a settlement agreement, and the servicemember was released from his obligation to pay the remaining balance on the car loan.