Legal – Resources
When legal issues arise, service members and their families have several resources at their fingertips, much of it free. Legal assistance is available whether you need an expert to review a contract, help with estate planning, finalize deployment-related legal documents, or understand divorce or child custody laws as they apply to you. Here are some of your options.
Military legal assistance office
Your installation's legal assistance office can help in many situations when you need legal guidance or help completing legal documents. Active and retired service members and family members are eligible for free legal assistance advice – but not representation in court – on a range of matters, including:
- Powers of attorney
- Last will and testament
- Estate planning
- Family law (such as adoption, marriage, divorce, alimony and property division)
- Contracts and lease review
- Notary services
- Consumer advice (ranging from debt management and credit reporting to ID theft)
- Tax help
- Immigration and naturalization issues
- Civil lawsuits
- Service member rights and responsibilities
Armed Forces Legal Assistance Legal Services Locator
- The Legal Services Locator is an online tool for finding the nearest legal assistance office where you can consult with a legal assistance attorney.
- This is a joint effort of the legal assistance divisions of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
- The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides service members with a range of rights and benefits, from interest rate reductions to eviction protection.
Document translation services
- Military OneSource Specialty Consultations provides document translation services.
- Experts can help translate a lease during an overseas move, a birth certificate, a marriage license and other documents.
- Contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 for document translation or legal matters. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.
Military defense counsel
Military defense counsel are legal offices separate from your local legal assistance office who provide independent legal representation and confidential legal advice to service members suspected of an offense or facing prosecution by the military.
- As a service member, you have the right to be represented at your court-martial.
- Military defense counsel can help you in many situations, including pretrial investigations, investigations, administrative separation proceedings, letters of reprimand, denial or revocation of a security clearance, and court-martial proceedings.
- Each of the service branches has a different name for the defense counsel offices:
- Army—United States Army Trial Defense Service
- Marine Corps and Navy—The Defense Service Office
- Air Force—Area Defense Counsel does not have a centralized website.
Find the contact information for your nearest defense counsel in your installation telephone directory. Your installation Trial Defense Service office, Defense Service Office or Area Defense Counsel office may have a local website with helpful information.
Legal resources pertaining to health care
The American Health Lawyers Association offers several resources of importance around military medical research and other patient care.
- Informed Consent in Military Medical Research
- Making Your Health Care Wishes Known Through an Advance Directive
- A Patient’s Rights and Responsibilities
- Understanding Informed Consent