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D.C. Area Military Law Blog

Member of Navy faces court martial for military law violation

Being a member of the U.S. Armed Forces is an honor and a privilege. Those who join are doing so out of duty to their country and to make use of the many benefits that accompany their service. However, it is important to remember that it military law can be complex and those who are accused of violating it can face various penalties. If there is a conviction in a military court, the service member might have a court martial and a dishonorable discharge. When there are allegations of wrongdoing, legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in military matters is a must.

A member of the U.S. Navy has been charged with attempting to destroy his urine samples by setting a fire. He is accused of trying to avoid having the test results utilized in a separate case. The man is said to have attempted to set the fire and destroy the samples in May 2017. The incident happened in Virginia. Specifically, he is said to have set fire to the building while others were inside and did so sans the authority to set the fire. He faces multiple charges. Among his allegations are lying to investigators as to when he left the base and started the fire. He has been in the Navy since 2010. The fire was said to have been started because he faced an adverse administrative proceeding because of the urine test results.

How does mental health affect your security clearance?

Obtaining security clearance is not an easy task, and you may have worked hard to reach your level of clearance. This allows you access to jobs and situations where national security may be at risk, so it is essential that you demonstrate trustworthiness and good decision-making skills to your employer. Whether you are a military service member or a civilian working for another government agency, maintaining your clearance is critical to your career and future advancement.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, you may be concerned about how this will affect your security clearance. It is important to know that you have rights, and you may wish to seek guidance and assistance if you fear your employer or a security investigator is violating your rights because of your mental health issues.

Can child custody hearings be expedited with deployments?

Since Virginia has so many members of the U.S. military living in the state, family law concerns are common. Combining the chance of a military divorce with the sudden need for deployments can lead to a complex and difficult situation between the parents. There is often a rush to complete family law orders based on the urgency of a pending deployment. Parents will often want to know what happens if there is not an order already in place and if there can be an expedited hearing due to deployment. The law does allow for this to take place.

When a parent is deploying and there has yet to be a child custody, visitation or support order while a couple is getting a divorce and there is a petition to establish the parameters for these issues, the deploying parent must inform the court that he or she is set to be deployed. This is to ensure that access to the child for the deploying parent is available and there are other orders in place to make sure that the relationship between parent and child is maintained.

Do former spouses keep medical benefits after military divorce?

In a Virginia military divorce, a spouse can keep certain benefits if he or she was married to the military member for enough time and the military member was in the service for 20 years.

Since healthcare is such a worrisome issue, the former spouse should understand how her or she can keep those benefits. As with any issue related to military divorce and its aftermath, having legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in military matters is key.

Military divorce settlement experts

Since most of our attorneys and staff possess a military service background in various branches, it is no surprise that we are a top-rated firm for military divorce. Our firm has served military service members and their families for almost 50 years. We understand, better than most, the specific challenges and demands military families face.

No military divorce is exactly alike. They each present unique issues to address which require a customized approach to each case. One, or both, members can be stationed anywhere in the world. Therefore, legal counsel should be knowledgeable experts in foreign jurisdictional matters. At PGD Law PLLC, that is exactly what you get. We not only serve military members in the Washington, DC area, but also throughout the world.

Job protection for military service members

Workers who also serve in the military are afforded job protections under what is known as The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Relief Act of 1994 (USERRA). This Act prevents an employer from discriminating against or firing an employee due to necessary leave for active military service.

Under both Federal and state Law, an employer must allow an employee to return to his or her position after U.S. military service if certain criteria are met. Those criteria are (1) The employee must have given the employer written or verbal notice of the military service prior to leaving, (2) The military service period did not exceed five years, (3) The military service member received an honorable discharge, and (4) The employee applied for reemployment.

Late-life divorce: What causes it and how it affects your health

If you've been married and serving in the military for close to 20 years or more, you likely have a keen understanding of how challenging it can be to balance military service and family life. Perhaps, the stress of it all has taken a serious toll on your marriage and you have finally decided that seeking a late-life divorce is better than staying in an unhappy marriage. If so, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. 

Divorce at any age can have significant implications regarding your assets, investments, retirement plans and other financial issues -- late-life divorce even more so, according to current data. If you are age 55 or beyond, getting divorced at this stage in life can also affect your mental, physical or emotional health. You may be better able to cope if you have a strong support system in place. 

International child custody issues

International child custody cases are extremely complex, stressful, and time-consuming. A party who is navigating such matters will probably need to obtain proper legal representation for negotiations in foreign courts.

Multi-national marriages are far more prevalent in today's society than ever. When children are born of these marriages, and the parents end up in divorce, it can lead to a long custody battle across borders. These custody actions are commonly known as "international relocations" or "international move-away cases." While the first consideration of any court will always be the best interests of the child, there are a few more important considerations in international cases.

Common military security clearance issues

Military members applying for security clearance can help expedite the matter by consulting with an experienced who can make sure an application package is complete and accurate prior to submission. Doing so can help avoid application rejection and unnecessary delays in processing.

Most security clearances, up to 96 percent according to, are rejected for the same common 20 issues. They include a plethora of missing information, incomplete explanations, missing fingerprint cards, and failure to provide required releases and certifications, just to name a few. Any security clearance applicant will need to have on hand a minimum of 10 years of information including employment, residential, credit, education, and criminal histories. He or she will also need to know certain information regarding relatives.

What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

Active duty military members are provided protections under what is known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Enacted in 2003, it provides coverage as soon as active duty goes into effect, up until 30 to 90 days after discharge.

SCRA was enacted to provide U.S. military servicemembers the relief of not having to worry about financial or judicial matters while protecting our country. In addition to the active member, protections are also allowed for spouses and children, as well as any individual party who relies on the service member for a minimum 50 percent support, and has done so for at least 6 months prior to utilizing the Act.

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