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D.C. Area Military Law Blog

Alcohol abuse, dependence may impact military security clearance

Consuming alcohol is an activity that many individuals participate in, especially as a social activity. Though most people have the ability to pace themselves and keep their alcohol consumption under control, other parties may have a more difficult time, especially when it comes to knowing when to stop or allowing themselves to end up in a harmful position due to their drinking.

As a member of the military or prospective military recruit, you likely understand that security clearance can play a significant role in your duties. However, if you have an alcohol dependence or abuse problem, your security clearance could face negative impacts, which could result in your military career coming to a standstill.

Can I get veterans' benefits with a dishonorable discharge?

Last month, this blog discussed the process of seeking a discharge upgrade. Put simply, a discharge upgrade improves the character of a veteran's discharge and, therefore, increases their capacity to obtain veterans' benefits by virtue of their years of military service. Discharge upgrades can be vitally important to the futures of military personnel, as many of the benefits they should enjoy require them to have discharge statuses other than dishonorable.

For example, military pension and compensation benefits are only applicable to veterans who have non-dishonorable discharges. These can be honorable discharges, general discharges and other forms that are not dishonorable. Additionally, some education benefits available to veterans require this same level of discharge character of their applicants.

Divorce may be different for members of the armed forces

Regardless of a person's affiliation with the military, going through a divorce is a difficult process. Not only does a divorce force a person to become knowledgeable about an intricate area of the law, but it also imposes significant emotional pressures upon them as they work to end a relationship that they may have believed would last forever.

Virginians who wish to divorce can benefit from seeking the guidance and counsel of attorneys who make family law a focal point of their legal practices. However, service members who decide to divorce or who find themselves in the difficult position of having to respond to divorce filings from their spouses need more than just family law lawyers; they need legal representatives who know how military service may impact the rules surrounding the end of a marriage.

Failure to pay alimony can hurt a military career

There are a number of issues that a couple must work out when the partners choose to end their marriage. A couple in Fairfax may have to decide custodial matters regarding their kids, such as where the children should live and if both of the parents will be involved in the decision-making processes that influence how their kids are raised. The partners may have to work out how they will divide their property and if and how support should be paid.

When one spouse receives financial support from the other following a divorce, the payments are considered alimony. Alimony is intended to allow a divorced person to get back on their feet so that they may support themselves into the future. In some cases alimony is awarded for life and a paying party must financially care for their ex until a terminating event brings the obligation to its end.

Are possible hidden assets a divorce concern of yours?

As you prepare to leave your married life behind and set goals for a new, single lifestyle, there are many decisions to make and issues to discuss with your spouse before entering divorce proceedings. Especially where your children are concerned and other important matters, such as property division and your future financial status, it is often best to try to work out as much as you can ahead of time so you merely need to seek the court's approval rather than hash it all out in court.

There are certain situations, however, that may definitely warrant litigation. If you suspect your spouse may be trying to hide assets to avoid property division, it is not only a matter you can discuss with an experienced family law attorney, it also happens to be illegal. Before you take any formal action, however, it may benefit you to familiarize yourself with common signs of hidden assets in divorce.

What is non-judicial punishment?

A Virginia service member who allegedly commits a felony may be subject to criminal conviction as well as court-martial procedures from their branch of the military. A court-martial is a serious process through which a service member may be dishonorably discharged from their branch of service and may, in the future, be denied access to veterans' benefits that they otherwise could have received but for the circumstances of their release from service.

Not all infractions allegedly committed by service members are felonies, let alone actual crimes. From time to time service members may be accused by their commanding officers of failing to follow orders, engaging in disrespectful behavior or breaking minor traffic laws. When these alleged incidents arise, the court-marital process is not an appropriate venue for review. In these cases a service member may be subjected to the non-judicial punishment process.

Don't let your past bar you from the military career you want

It takes a special man or woman to commit to service in the armed forces. A person must be able to put others before themselves to be a member of the United States military and numerous Virginia residents answer that call each year. However, unlike civilian lines of work where people can often walk into jobs with little to no review of their histories, military careers often require applicants to submit to significant scrutiny into their pasts.

For example, it is not unusual for members of the military to have to submit to security clearances. A security clearance is a review of a person's life and an analysis of their past conduct. If a security clearance is granted, the applicant becomes eligible to know certain levels of governmental and military information that otherwise may be unavailable to members of the civilian population.

Uncle Sam cares about DUI

While considering enlisting in the U.S. military in Virginia, you are likely aware that you will make many personal sacrifices and place yourself at risk on more than one occasion in your effort to uphold the Constitution and protect and defend the citizens of the United States. The profession is one to which most citizens give honor and gratitude for its members' services. If DUI winds up on your criminal record, it may greatly impede your eligibility status to join the military.

You'd unlikely be the first person to try to join the military following legal trouble.  In some situations, such as a DUI arrest, both your civilian life and your potential military career may be negatively affected. Where DUI charges are concerned, it may matter whether charges were misdemeanors or felonies and whether you entered a guilty plea in court.

Reasons that a security clearance may be denied

A security clearance is an important component of gaining access to careers in the military. Fairfax residents may also need to apply for and obtain security clearances if they wish to pursue careers in certain parts of the federal government. This post will provide information on reasons why a person's security clearance application could be denied. It is not specific to military applications for security clearances and individuals with specific inquiries are encouraged to discuss their security clearance concerns with competent legal representatives.

According to the United States Department of State there are several reasons that an applicant's security clearance will be denied. First, a denial may be based on a failure of an applicant to fully complete the requirements of the application. If an applicant does not provide comprehensive data to respond to the questions asked, their application may be denied as insufficient.

As an active member of the military where may I file for divorce?

The life of a military family can be rewarding but also transitory. It is often required of service members to frequently relocate for new assignments or to take on more responsibilities as they ascend the ranks of their chosen branches of service. Members of the military who are currently based in Virginia may have arrived at their current posts after a number of other moves throughout the world.

Due to the frequent uprooting of their lives it can be difficult for military members to establish permanent residencies in the locations where they are sent to serve. This problem can pose challenges to individuals who need to prove residency in order to proceed through certain legal processes. For example, it is often required of individuals who wish to file for divorce that they have a minimum length of residency in the jurisdiction where they plan to file.

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