Legal Assistance

legal assistance

Navy Region Legal Service Offices (RLSOs) provide legal assistance to eligible personnel and family members around the world to promote readiness and to enhance morale and quality of life.

Legal Assistance Services

Advice and/or service regarding the following matters are normally available at legal assistance offices:

  • Wills with and without testamentary trusts.
  • General estate planning advice.
  • Domestic relations advice, including divorce, legal separation, annulment, custody, and paternity.
  • Adoption and name changes advice.
  • Immigration and naturalization advice.
  • Nonsupport and indebtedness including, communication, correspondence and negotiations with another party or lawyer.
  • Consumer Fraud and Abuse advice, including identity theft.
  • Powers of Attorney and Notary services.
  • Basic tax advice and assistance on Federal, State, and local taxes.
  • Landlord-tenant relations, including tenant advice concerning review of personal leases and communication and correspondence.
  • Small Claims Civil suits, including preparation of correspondence and certain documents. However, advice and document preparation will not be provided in cases where civilian counsel has been retained. In-court representation is precluded except through the expanded legal assistance program, the availability of which varies among the services.
  • Military Rights and Benefits, including Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) advice and assistance.
  • Under the Exceptional Family Member Program, education issues related to the Individuals With Disabilities Act and a free and appropriate public education.

Preventive Law Resources

Learn more about legal assistance topics that commonly affect service members and their families such as consumer affairs, family law, wills, or powers of attorney. The information provided is for educational and general information purposes only. It is not legal advice. Speak with a licensed attorney before relying on the information contained within the website to make a decision or take any action.

Legal Assistance Preventive Law

Important Phone Numbers and Links

Legal Assistance Resources

  • Immigration Advisory 1-20 - For assistance with immigration or naturalization questions, please contact your local Region Legal Service Office or your Command Citizenship Representative for advice.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides information on Citizenship for Military Personnel and Family Members.
  • Military Assistance Program (MAP) is a collaborative effort between the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Legal Assistance Offices (LAO) of the U.S. Judge Advocate General's. The LAOs provide free assistance to active duty service members and their families in order to maintain the highest level of readiness possible in the event that a service member is deployed. AILA MAP has brought these two groups together to form a partnership. For more information on AILA MAP contact
  • ABA Home Front
  • ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military attorneys on behalf of junior-enlisted, active-duty military personnel and their families with civil legal problems, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where legal assistance is needed. The Project is also the platform for Operation Stand-By, through which military attorneys may seek attorney-to-attorney advice to further assist their Servicemember clients.
  • National Center for Victims of Crime - victim assistance programs.
  • National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides a variety of resources concerning abduction, child sexual exploitation, and safety.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment.
  • Military One Source is a confidential Department of Defense-funded program providing comprehensive information on every aspect of military life at no cost to active duty, National Guard, and reserve members, and their families. Military One Source offers information concerning the following legal issues:
    • 6 Legal Documents You Should Update Before You Deploy
    • Child Custody Considerations for Members of the Military
    • Individual and Family Issues
    • Legal Implications of Getting a DUI On or Off an Installation
    • Legal and Financial Considerations for Lesbian and Gay Service Members
    • Power of Attorney Basics
    • Renter’s Insurance: Do I Need It on the Installation?
    • Rights and Benefits for Abandoned Military Spouses
    • Rights and Benefits of Divorced Spouses in the Military
    • State-level Decriminalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on Service Members
    • Synthetic Drugs: A Man-Made Menace
    • Terminating Your Lease Due to Deployment or PCS
    • The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
    • The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
    • Understanding Accessible Housing
    • Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act for Divorced Spouses in the Military
    • What Information Can the Military Release about Service Members?

Military One Source also provides a free, online income tax filing service, with expert tax advice available telephonically.

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) Introduced in March 2009, HARP enables borrowers with little or no equity to refinance into more affordable mortgages without new or additional mortgage insurance. HARP targets borrowers with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios equal to or greater than 80 percent and who have limited delinquencies over the 12 months prior to refinancing.
  • Making Home Affordable Program (MHA) is a comprehensive plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market by helping homeowners get mortgage relief and avoid foreclosure. To meet the various needs of homeowners across the country, MHA programs offer a range of solutions that may be able to help you take action before it's too late.
    • Refinance and take advantage of today's low mortgage interest rates.
    • Reduce your monthly mortgage payments.
    • Get mortgage relief while searching for re-employment.
    • Get help when you owe more than your home is worth.
    • Avoid foreclosure when homeownership is no longer affordable or desirable.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance, and income tax payments. In order to have your SCRA case reviewed by the Department of Justice (DoJ), you must first seek the assistance of your local military legal assistance office. If that office cannot resolve the complaint, it may choose to refer the complaint to the DoJ for review and a determination of whether DoJ action is appropriate.

Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) clarifies and strengthens the Veterans' Reemployment Rights (VRR) Statute. The Department of Labor, through the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), provides assistance to all persons having claims under USERRA.

U.S. Embassy provides links to the various US Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions around the world. Most areas have a tab for U.S. Services that may be helpful for those needing assistance in locating English-speaking professionals such as doctors, lawyers, notaries, and translators.

  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA or DVA) is a government-run military benefits system. The VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of VA medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices, and is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors.
  • Board of Veterans Appeals (also known as "BVA" or "the Board") is a part of the VA, located in Washington, D.C. Members of the Board review benefit claims determinations made by local VA offices and issue decisions on appeals. These Law Judges, attorneys experienced in veteran’s law and in reviewing benefit claims, are the only ones who can issue Board decisions. Staff attorneys, also trained in veteran’s law, review the facts of each appeal and assist the Board members. Anyone who is not satisfied with the results of a claim for veterans benefits (determined by a VA regional office, medical center, or other local VA office) should read the “How do I Appeal” pamphlet.
  • United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a national court of record, established under Article I of the Constitution of the United States. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction to provide judicial review of final decisions by the Board of Veterans' Appeals, an entity within the Department of Veterans Affairs.