Sept. 8, 2021
What You Should Know About the Navy’s Fraternization Instruction
In November 2020, the Navy published an update to its Fraternization Policy. The new instruction, OPNAVINST 5370.2E, provides updated reporting procedures for instances of fraternization, as well as a more robust discussion section to help members navigate a determination of what relationships might violate the policy. This article is meant to offer a synopsis of the newly published instruction – a lawful general order – and to clarify what responsibilities it imposes upon all servicemembers.
July 1, 2021
Navigating Post-NJP Actions
Navigating post-nonjudicial punishment (NJP) actions is understandably confusing. It is important to handle modifications to punishment correctly at the command level to ensure compliance with servicemembers’ due process rights. Keep in mind that, for many actions, a command must have an articulated reason for changing the punishment, such as a demonstrated conduct improvement or a determination that the punishment resulted in clear injustice. If a valid reason exists, there are four courses of action that NJP authorities or their successors in command can take under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Article 15, paragraph 6: suspension, mitigation, remission, and a set aside.
June 3, 2021
Communication is Key to Supporting Victims
A majority of sexual assault victims report feeling a lack of support from their leadership, and almost twothirds of victims report experiencing a behavior in line with retaliation. As a former Staff Judge Advocate, these numbers did not reflect my experiences advising Navy commands.
May 20, 2021
Military Claims Act—What is it and how does it work?
NAS Sigonella —
What is the Military Claims Act (MCA)? The MCA is a mechanism to administratively settle and pay claims arising from personal injury, death, or damage and loss of real or personal property caused by the Department of Defense (DOD).
May 3, 2021
Fighting Fraud And Bad Deals: Consumer and Financial Protection for Service Members
Service members, military retirees, and their families are sadly not immune from consumer and financial fraud and are often directly targeted. High mobility, a steady government paycheck with publicly available information on salaries, BAH, etc., by rank and location, and other factors contribute to bad actors seeking to take advantage of service members and their families. According to the Federal Trade Commission, military members reported higher median loses from consumer fraud - including identity theft and imposter scams - than civilians.
March 11, 2021
Tax Season 2021: What You Need to Know
The Internal Revenue Service began accepting and processing tax year 2020 federal returns on Feb. 12, 2021.
March 3, 2021
Cutting the Cord & Contracts Abroad
Forgot to cancel a cell, internet, or TV contract before moving overseas?
Feb. 20, 2021
Bring Your...Pet to Work: Are Fido Fridays Legal?
NSA Souda Bay —
Friday rolls around and the guilt of daily doggy daycare is weighing on you — can you bring Rover to work if he promises to sleep under your desk and not bark during meetings? The answer is…it depends.
Feb. 2, 2021
Divorcing in the U.S. While Overseas
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a Uniform Code of Divorce Law? Like the Uniform Code of Military Justice? One set of rules governing divorce from San Diego, to Sasebo, to Sigonella?
Jan. 20, 2021
Are You Prepared to Deploy/PCS? A Legal Readiness Cheat-Sheet
A critical part of deployment readiness is being ready-to-go at a moment’s notice, and that includes being legally prepared. Trying to resolve personal legal issues from overseas or while deployed is not just difficult,
Dec. 1, 2020
Storage Lien Enforcement & Eviction Protections
The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a must-know federal law providing legal protections and benefits to Service Members.
July 1, 2019
Marriage in Japan — Misconception and Actuality
Servicemembers often come to the Legal Assistance Office seeking advice in getting married in Japan. They visit us either to seek information regarding the process or assistance in obtaining command approval. They often come misinformed. This article is intended to dispel the five most common misconceptions about getting married in Japan.
Feb. 5, 2019
VITA Connects Service Members to Tax Support
The 2019 tax season is underway, and, once again, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is open to eligible Navy personnel, dependents, and retirees at select locations around th...
Jan. 28, 2019
Tax Season: What You Need to Know
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Free-File Options
Nov. 14, 2018
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Ethics Counselor —Holiday Ethics
‘Tis the season to consult your Ethics Counselor! Below are some issues that come up annually during the holidays. See Page 8 for a discussion on NFEs and BOOFOOs.
Jan. 23, 2018
Navy’s 2018 VITA Program is Open for Business
Valid identification for taxpayer/s...
Income Tax Frequently Asked Questions
When does tax season start and end? Persons residing within the United States: The tax season begins Jan. 29. For resident aliens and U.S. citizens residing within the United States, the filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is Tuesday, April 17, 2018, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Monday, which pushes the deadline to the next day for most of the nation. Persons residing within the United States can request a 6-month extension.
Nov. 17, 2016
Special Power of Attorney
Sailor readiness has always been a top priority for commands throughout the fleet. When gearing up for deployment or traveling overseas, most Sailors require legal assistance in the form of a special power of attorney.
July 28, 2016
Navy Releases New Online Legal Assistance Resources
The Naval Legal Service Command recently unveiled new online legal resources for those eligible for military legal assistance.
April 1, 2016
Avoiding Political Pitfalls This Election Season
It’s election season. So, what does that mean for you as an active-duty service member? One of our most important obligations of citizenship is casting a ballot and making our voices heard by voting. The Department of Defense encourages all members of the Armed Forces to register and vote.
March 30, 2016
Lending a helping paw to the legal community
The Region Legal Service Office Northwest (RLSO NW), located in Bremerton, Wash., has pioneered a program within the Navy’s legal community. Recently, the military justice department at RLSO Northwest began using canines to comfort victims and witnesses through the criminal trial process.
March 11, 2016
Staying Out of Trouble During March Madness
Mid-March generally brings to mind warmer temperatures, longer days, and perhaps a little luck o’ the Irish. For many sports fans, it also marks the beginning of one of the most wonderful times of the year: the NCAA March Madness Tournament!
June 16, 2015
Supporting RLSO Japan’s Legal Assistance Mission With Innovative Remote Services
When I approached the end of my obligated service on active duty, I knew I wanted to stay reserves. The problem was the reason why I was leaving active duty in the first place. My...
April 28, 2015
Power of attorney: Which one do I need?
After nearly a decade and a half of war, service members and their spouses are likely familiar with general powers of attorney. The most common type of power of attorney is a durable, general power of attorney. This document transfers nearly every legal right a person has to another individual. Durable means the document survives even if you are incapacitated for some reason (e.g. in a coma in a hospital).
Feb. 24, 2015
When does tax season start and end? The tax season began January 20th and ends April 15th for people in the United States and June 15th for those stationed overseas. Those stationed in combat zones get an automa...
Feb. 18, 2015
Five Things You Need to Know about Retaliation
Retaliation is harmful action against someone for something they did or said. It includes ostracism and is often described as professional or social. Retaliation is a violation of the UCMJ....
Feb. 28, 2012
Spot Delivery Car Sales
This article is not a substitute for individual legal advice and readers are advised that they should consult a lawyer to obtain proper advice for any legal issue. The most common car purchase pr...