Two new legal guides for military families and vets

 On Thursday, July 17, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette introduced two new resources for Michigan military families and Michigan veterans, in honor of Military Consumer Protection Day.  The “Military and Veterans Legal Services Guide” is a combined effort between the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the Veterans Law Clinic of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and the “Michigan Guide to Military Family Law” is a collaboration between the attorney general and Thomas M. Cooley Law School. 

“I am proud to provide two new legal resources for our Michigan military community,” said Schuette.  “The incredible sacrifices by the men and women of the Armed Forces cannot be overstated.   Service members, past and present, have dedicated their lives and careers to the good of the nation and we are grateful.”
The two resources were developed for military families who experience frequent relocation, separation from family and friends, and stresses of deployment.  Many veterans and service members are faced with a myriad of legal issues and need practical and useful advice.  Often times a steady government paycheck can also make military households an attractive target for scam artists. 
“The frequent moves and overseas deployments that come with military service can sometimes create legal headaches for veterans when they return to civilian life,” said Jeff Barnes, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency director.  “Ensuring that veterans understand their rights and the legal community understands the nuances of the law as it relates to veterans will help make that transition home as smooth as possible.”
The “Military and Veterans Legal Services Guide” is designed to provide Michigan military personnel and veterans, and those who assist them, with a directory of resources for legal matters.  The guide contains a “one-stop” location of resources specific to veterans needs as well as resources to assist them in addressing legal problems that may not be related to their status as veterans. 
For example, it provides information about available resources to veterans with low incomes, including Project Salute, a University of Detroit Mercy School of Law program that provides pro bono assistance to veterans and helps them with obtaining federal veterans benefits. 
The guide also offers information about various legal and legal related programs for all veterans and active duty military personnel.  Such programs include Cooley’s Service to Soldiers Program which offers free legal assistance to Michigan military personnel who are deploying or returning.
The guide also offers helpful consumer protection advice and identifies various judicial resources for veterans and service members, including contact information for Veterans’ Treatment Courts that are authorized by Michigan statute to serve military veterans, and some active-duty personnel. 
 The “Michigan Guide to Military Family Law” is a legal resource manual specifically dealing with family law issues that will assist members of the military, lawyers, judges, and persons who advise military personnel and their families to navigate through this complex legal area. While not a substitute for personal legal advice, the “Michigan Guide to Military Family Law” provides information on a number of family law topics, including divorce, child custody, and child and spousal support.  These issues are not only legally complex but are emotionally difficult and the guide is intended to answer basic question unique to military service members. 
“We are extremely proud of our students and faculty who worked side-by-side with the attorney general’s office to develop this guide,” said Amy Timmer, Thomas M. Cooley Law School associate dean of Students and Professionalism.   
These new resources were unveiled Thursday, July 17, in downtown Detroit’s Chrysler House Building, owned by Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman, Dan Gilbert.  Quicken Loans recently launched Tour of Duty, a program to assist returning service members with their transition to civilian life.  The company also chartered a new American Legion Post in Detroit, comprised of Quicken Loans employees who have served our nation in the military.
To access the Military and Veterans Legal Services Guide, please visit the following link: http://1.usa.gov/1qKrt4p.
For the Michigan Guide to Military Family Law, visit the following link:  http://1.usa.gov/1peaLcD.

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