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D.C. Area Military Law Blog

Experienced attorneys can help with security clearance issues

The mention of the words "security clearance" might elicit images of people who are conducting clandestine work for the United States government and putting their lives on the line in adventurous situations. While that might be true in rare cases, security clearance issues are often a concern of workaday people who are seeking a job with the government as contractors, part of the armed forces and those working as civil servants. Failure to get security clearance can happen for many reasons and many can be dealt with by having legal help.

When seeking a security clearance, there will be a background check. People could have a variety of minor incidents in their past that raise red flags and result in a denial. This can be costly in myriad ways. For example, if it is a contractor who is set to do a major job for the government, it can severely impact the business in a negative way. Even workers who are not owners, but are part of the project could be prevented from taking part if they cannot get a security clearance.

Statistics show decline in military divorce

The military life is never easy. With deployments, frequent travel and the possibility of long separations, it is no surprise that service members in Virginia and across the nation will often face the prospect of a military divorce. There are inherent concerns with a military divorce including a non-military spouse maintaining health coverage, child support, visitation and much more. For couples who are considering a military divorce, it is important to understand these issues and how to navigate them with help from a law firm experienced in military law.

On a positive note, there has been a statistical decline in military divorce and that trend is continuing. The Defense Department data shows that the reduction of military divorces has been ongoing for 10 years. Around 3 percent of service members who were married when 2018 began got divorced during that year. The reduction in divorces is small but noteworthy at 0.1 percent when making a comparison with 2017 numbers. When researchers gauge the number of divorces in the military, they calculate how many members of the armed forces are married at the beginning of the fiscal year and how many got divorced by the end of the fiscal year. It also categorizes them based on whether they are officers or enlisted, their gender and which branch of the service they are in.

Lieutenant faces military law violation for recording colleagues

Members of the Armed Forces can be arrested and charged with illegal activity and be prosecuted based on military law. With so many members of the military in and around Virginia, those who are facing charges for any violation must understand the consequences such as court martial and dishonorable discharge. This can negatively affect their entire life long after they have left the military. Having a strong legal defense is crucial to try and avoid the worst possible penalties.

A Navy lieutenant who works in cyber warfare was charged with recording other members of the Navy without their knowledge or consent. This allegedly went on for years. According to the charges, the lieutenant committed these acts in several different locations where he was stationed. He had worked in the growing cyber division of the military.

Are you facing an international custody dispute?

When you married someone from another country, the new customs and culture that your spouse opened up to you may have intrigued you. Perhaps you and your spouse traveled to your spouse's homeland, and you were eager to raise your children with an appreciation of both countries.

Now that your marriage is ending, your spouse's foreign roots are no longer so fascinating. In fact, you may be filled with fear, especially if your spouse has indicated that he or she intends to take the children out of the U.S. to live in the other country. Whether these are just threats or your ex has already left the country with the children, you have a complex and urgent situation on your hands.

Two Marines face military law after DUIs

Members of the military who are stationed here and are confronted with an arrest for a violation or crime in a civilian situation will often learn that the case can impact their military career. Having a legal defense is important, but when the allegations are harming a person's standing in the military, it is also wise to have help from a law firm that specializes in military matters such as disciplinary procedures. Losing a command because of an arrest is one such situation and it happens relatively frequently.

In the span of two weeks, two Marine commanders lost their position in the military because of drunk driving arrests. Both incidents occurred in Virginia. The second incident involve a colonel who commanded the Cyberspace Operations Group and his dismissal from that position came five days following the arrest. The major general who removed him issued a statement of lost confidence. The colonel had been given an award for his leadership and service in February.

Divorce is a civil act, but military divorce is unique

If you are married and serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, you already know how tough it can be to make your marriage work. Marriage is difficult under the best circumstances, and the unique challenges of military life can be an added frustration if your relationship is already strained.

Many military couples have strong and vibrant marriages and families, but if yours has not been so fortunate, you have a lot to consider. Although the military does not typically become involved in divorces, you and your spouse must consider certain military laws and protections if you are planning to end your marriage.

Romance and security clearance do not always mix

Whether you are a member of the U.S. military or you are Virginia civilian who works with classified information, your security clearance is important to you. Depending on your level of clearance, you have likely gone through numerous investigations, interviews and evaluations, especially if you moved to higher clearance levels.

Just as important as obtaining that clearance is keeping it. Periodically, the government will review your security clearance to determine if you are eligible for renewal. However, at any time, a personal situation may arise that may cause the government to suspend your clearance.

Understanding percentages of support in a military divorce

There are many issues that are worrisome to the parties in a military divorce. Since Virginia is rife with military members past and present, it is important to understand the various laws as to how the case will be decided upon. When there is money from the military member's earnings that will be deducted to pay for support - child or spousal - it is wise to know about the percentages that can be taken. As with any divorce or family law case, having legal advice is imperative.

Based on the Consumer Credit Protection Act, there is a limit that can be deducted from a person's earnings. It is based on their disposable earnings and ranges between 50% and 65%. For it to be 50% as the maximum, the paying parent or former spouse must prove that he or she is providing greater than half the support of dependents apart from the ones in the new case and there cannot be payments in arrears. For it to be 55%, there must be proof that he or she is paying more than half the support of other dependents and there are payments in arrears.

Military divorce and ending child support payments from retirees

For Virginians who were members of the military and are paying child support as retirees after a military divorce, it is important to understand when those payments will stop. While parents will be glad to pay for their child's upkeep, it can still be a financially onerous issue and there will be a sense of relief when the payments no longer need to be made. Understanding how the payments will be stopped when they have been issued directly to the custodial parent from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is a critical factor in concluding the payments.

When DFAS issues payments from the retired pay of the former military member and it was made based on the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), the language in the divorce order detailing the child support payments will be used to determine when the payments will cease. If there is a designated date at which the payments will stop, that will take precedence. If there is not, the military member must get a court order to stop the child support. The state that issued the order will need to tell DFAS to stop the payments as there is no federal law controlling this situation.

Why was I denied a security clearance and what can I do?

For many jobs with the U.S. government, it is necessary to get a security clearance. This is true if it is a person who is seeking a job working directly for the government or a person who is a contractor and will only be employed in that context. The security clearance is a protective device so the government knows who it has working for them and that they can feel safe with him or her being exposed to material that could be considered sensitive.

The denial of a security clearance can deprive a person of a lucrative job and a chance at career advancement. Understanding why there was a denial is imperative to know what to do about it. People who are going through the process for a security clearance are advised to be honest, candid and thorough. Issues can crop up and the cases are looked at individually. The Security Executive Agent Directive (SEAD) 4 National Security Adjudicative Guidelines is used to make the decision to give the security clearance, to continue a person's eligibility to have security clearance or to deny or rescind the clearance.

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