Welcome to the Topic Guide on Legal.
This guide is a starting point for legal issues affecting the military and veteran population.
What are some of the key legal issues?
Legal issues can have a significant impact on the lives of service members, veterans and their families. Examples of legal issues include:
- Losing vehicles to repossession
- Losing homes to foreclosure
- Appealing disability determinations
- Child support & child custody
- Other criminal charges
When these issues aren’t dealt with in a timely manner, there are often serious consequences.
What about the JAG program?
Those still serving in uniform do have access to military attorneys through the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Program, however there are restrictions on the services they can provide. They are prohibited by regulation from representing service members in court and in preparing documents, so their assistance is generally restricted to providing advice and they may not fully be able to assist with the resolution of legal issues. Referrals can be provided to civilian attorneys.
What protections are available to military members, veterans and their families through the law?
This brochure by the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division provides an overview of the civil protections put in place on the federal level to help protect the rights of military members, veterans and their families:
The following laws are included in the brochure:
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) – This federal law protects the civilians employment rights of service members and veterans.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) – This federal law focuses on currently serving military members and includes a range of issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, eviction, interest rates, foreclosure, life insurance and income tax payments.
Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) – A federal law protecting the rights of service members to vote in federal elections regardless of where they are stationed.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – This “equal opportunity” federal law gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities and prohibits discrimination.
What are Veterans Courts?
Many courts across the country have started Veterans Courts. These courts are usually a collaboration between the court system, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other key partners. The goal is to connect veterans to services, support and treatment to increase positive outcomes, while still holding the veteran accountable.
These are several Veterans Court initiatives currently underway in Arizona. Read more in the Veterans Court Navigation Guide.
Where can I get further information?
The Arizona Supreme Court created the website, Law for Veterans, as a clearinghouse for access to legal and other important veteran information. The site includes content on ten legal subject areas, including identify theft, employment law, housing and criminal law. Site visitors can also submit questions and connect to legal resources.
Link: Law for Veterans
Where can I get legal assistance?
If you are currently serving in the military, contact your JAG for information and possible referrals for legal representation.
The State Bar of Arizona has a list of organizations that provide information, referrals and, in some cases, legal assistance.