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Domestic Abuse and The Military

There are many unique aspects of military family law; domestic abuse protections included. The military offers protections in addition to those offered by state law for military spouses impacted by abuse. For example, a family member of a servicemember convicted of or administratively separated for committing abuse may be entitled to receive temporary monthly compensation or some of the member’s military retirement. Additionally, military commanders have the authority to issue a military protection order in addition to the protection orders available under state law.

Lautenberg Amendment

The Lautenberg Amendment is federal legislation protecting victims of domestic abuse. The domestic violence offender firearm ban prevents those convicted of crimes of domestic violence from owning or using firearms. The act bans shipment, transport, possession, ownership, and use of guns or ammunition by individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. The act also makes it unlawful to knowingly sell or give a firearm or ammunition to those subject to the ban. If a person in the military has been convicted and the following criteria are met, then that military member can not carry a firearm:

  • Hearing - the defendant must have been afforded an evidentiary hearing
  • Intimate Partner - the parties must be intimate partners
  • Restrains Future Contact - the Protection Order must restrain the defendant from harassing, stalking, or threatening behavior to the protected party
  • Credible Threat - the restrained person must be determined to be a credible threat to the protected party

Because there are no noncombatant positions in the military, that military member, if not separated from service immediately, will not be permitted to reenlist. The purpose of the preceding requirements is to ensure that military members have been afforded due process and that they are a genuine threat to their family members.

Monthly Compensation

When a servicemember is convicted of domestic abuse, the military offers temporary assistance for family members. The Transitional Compensation for Abused Dependents Program allows for temporary payments and receipt of military benefits to dependents of service members who were separated from the military due to domestic abuse. This allows the family members to transition from the military support system more easily.

Military Protection Orders

A military commander can also issue a protection order (MPO). There is no equivalent to this in the civilian world where no employer or supervisor has the authority to issue a protective order. MPOs can be issued when there are sufficient facts that show domestic abuse by an active duty service member. The victim, law enforcement, medical practitioners, and victim advocates can request that a MPO be issued. The commander can issue the order if a preponderance of the evidence shows that domestic abuse was committed. MPOs are administrative orders as opposed to the judicial orders available in the civilian court system. Yet for a military member, they are just as binding.

Janko Law - How We Can Assist

Divorce and family law matters are difficult to navigate alone. We can guide you through the experience by handling pleading and motion preparation and filing, negotiation, mediation, and court proceedings for you. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on trying to figure out how the overly complex court system works. Remember that change often creates new opportunity and a better future. Janko Law can help ensure that your best interests and the best interests of your family are protected. Contact us at 720-780-0115 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.

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