Sunday, March 31, 2013

Safety at Home – Intimate Partner Violence, Military Personnel, and Veterans

The Battered Women’s Justice Project (BWJP) is pleased to announce the release of four modules of the e-learning course, Safety at Home – Intimate Partner Violence, Military Personnel, and Veterans.
The course is designed for advocates (military and civilian) who provide services to military-related families experiencing intimate partner violence. The course will also be helpful for social service and mental health practitioners who are working with these victims and their families.
The self-paced course includes eight modules with mini-lectures, case studies, video clips, practice scenarios, and opportunities for self-assessment to test mastery of course content. Supplemental materials are available to download.
Register for the program (it is OK to use a pseudonym!) and get started here:

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

April 26/Teleconference+Minneapolis: ULC Deployed Parents Visitation and Custody Act

The deployment of a custodial parent raises custody issues that are not adequately dealt with in the law of most states. In many instances, deployment will be sudden, making it difficult to resolve custody issues before the deployment by ordinary child custody procedures. There is a need to ensure that parents who serve their country are not penalized for their service, while still giving adequate weight to the interests of the other parent, and most importantly, the best interest of the child.
Due to the patchwork of various laws across the country and consistent with its mission to harmonize state law, the Uniform Law Commission recently passed the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA), a uniform statute that states may adopt to govern child custody and visitation rights when a service member with children is deployed for military service. The Act includes provisions regarding custody and visitation rights during the deployment of a service member, addresses issues regarding a service member's delegation of custody rights, and establishes clear procedures for the resumption of the previous custody arrangement.
Two Minnesota attorneys who served as subject matter experts for the ULC's UDPCVA drafting committee, Kim Bonuomo, family law attorney and shareholder at Moss & Barnett, and Major Lyndsey Olson, General Counsel of the Minnesota National Guard will discuss the provisions of the UDPCVA and what effect passage of UDPCVA would have in Minnesota.
ULC Deployed Parents Visitation and Custody Act
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
MSBA Offices
600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 380
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Teleconferencing is available but you must pre-register by April 5th.


  • Kim Bonuomo , Family law attorney and shareholder at Moss & Barnett
  • Lyndsey Olson , General Counsel of the Minnesota National Guard
1 hour of Standard CLE credit applied for
  • Children and the Law or Military & Veterans Affairs Section Members:  $10.00
  • MSBA Members (But Not Children and the Law or Military & Veterans Affairs Section Members):  $15.00
  • Non-MSBA Members:  $25.00
  • Law Students:  Free


#VONAPP: Apply Online For Your #Veterans Benefits

VONAPP (Veterans On Line Applications) is the VA's new website for applying for VA disability benefits.
According to the VA, you can apply for VA compensation, pension, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial benefits. If you aren't sure, call contact the VA National Call Center toll-free 1-800-827-1000.
If you already have a claim pending with VA, don't use VONAPP to apply again for the same benefit; check with the VA National Call Center toll-free at 1-800-827-1000 before you submit another claim using VONAPP.
The more complete your application, the faster it can be processed.
Learn more at:

If you have used VONAPP, please comment on how it worked.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

VA Help With VA Home Loans That Are In Trouble

If a veteran is behind, or worried about getting behind, on a VA-financed mortgage, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be able to help. The VA can do that many lenders do not or will not, as detailed on its Loan Administration page.
Much of that page covers matters, you expect; for example, if you decide to fix the problem by selling the house, the VA will work with you to ensure that the VA loan is taken care of. If you are looking for help making payments while you get over a short-term problem, the VA cannot make direct payments for you, but maintains a list of programs in your state that might (nothing is for sure, but why not check?).
Some of the options are surprising but logical. The most striking is called Refunding. Refunding is the process by which the VA buys a loan from the holder and take over the service. This is a discretionary process; that is, the VA doesn't HAVE to do it, but it is something to consider before foreclosure is completed. If you have the ability to make mortgage payments, or will have the ability to in the future, but your loan holder has decided it cannot extend further forbearance or a repayment plan, you may qualify for refunding.
Let's hope you never have to face the situation in which you can't make your house payments, but if it does, it's a good idea to check with the VA to see if they can help.
Learn More Here or contact your Regional Loan Center.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Register Now for #MCLE by Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Project

The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Project offers a practical way that you can use your talent as a lawyer to "serve those who served". In the process you can earn a whole lot of free Continuing Legal Education credits in most jurisdictions. After the training, they connect you with veterans who are pre-qualified for your services and provide support and advice as you work their case. You can meet your ethical need to perform pro bono work while developing a useful practice area!
Registration for the project's trainings tend to fill up quickly, so if you are interesting, you should register as soon as you are sure you can hold to the commitment. Currently registration is open for:
Why not take this opportunity to "do well by doing good" - get free training and help our veterans. It's better than flying a yellow ribbon on your SUV!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Does My Veteran-Client Need A Social Worker?

Many people come to lawyers with problems that are more than simply legal problem, but spill over into a whole host of other areas. Despite what you may see on TV, lawyers are not marriage counselors, accountants or the parents of their clients; they can't straighten out all of a client's problems, much as this may be desirable.
One important benefit that veterans have earned by their service is access to a Veterans Administration Social Worker. The VA's Do I Need a Social Worker? page has a long list of problems that most lawyers have heard from their clients, and are not professionally equipped to handle:

  • If you are having marriage or family problems
  • If you would like help with moving to an assisted living facility, a board and care home or a nursing home.
  • If someone close to you has passed away and you want to talk about it
  • If you have problems with drinking or drug use
  • If you feel that someone is taking advantage of you or if you feel mistreated in a relationship
  • If you are a parent who feels overwhelmed with child care
  • If your parent or spouse is in failing health
  • If you are feeling stress because of your health or because your medical condition interferes with your daily activities
  • If you are feeling sad, depressed or anxious
  • If you really aren‘t sure what you need, but things just don‘t feel right
  • Financial or housing assistance

If any of these situations apply to your client or their family, they should ask to see the social worker at their VA Medical Center. Treat this as a referral to another attorney; you can and should continue representation for their legal needs, but should not try to handle issues for which you are not trained.
What if you or your client have an Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge?
Many veterans benefits are contingent on earning an honorable discharge; however, some are not. If you or your client have an OTH, don't assume that the VA won't help you; it's best to go and apply. Sometimes, if you have a good explanation for the OTH, you may gain access to appropriate services. For example, a servicemember with an otherwise good record who is OTH'd because of a single drug infraction might be able to get help with drug treatment. You will not know if you do not ask!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 27/Web: Peer Support Services for Service Members, #Veterans, and their Families

Peer support has been recognized as an important strategy in supporting the behavioral health needs of Servicemembers, Veterans and Families (SMVF). Individuals with lived experience provide a bridge to services and help ease SMVF transition to their communities.  Peers with military experience and experience with recovery from trauma, mental health, or addiction issues offer valuable knowledge and skills to assist others. This support can be provided through a variety of established peer models.
Many states have already begun to bring their peer initiatives together across systems and now stakeholders must assess how best to work together.  Coordinated systems of peer support services for SMVF can succeed with collaboration and consensus.
This webinar will include discussions related to best practice resources and tools, how communities can build on commonalities, and the many roles peers play.  The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

  • Discuss opportunities for peer support services in relation to SMVF
  • Explore the recently issued Presidential Executive Order that advances peer models within the VA
  • Identify ethical considerations and decision points for developing SMVF peer models
  • Recognize the varied roles and responsibilities of SMVF peers
  • Identify resources and next steps for developing peer support services

Fostering and Expanding Peer Support Services for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families
March 27, 2013
1:00pm - 2:30pm Eastern (10am Pacific)
Target Audience: 
Representatives from state, territory, and tribal behavioral health systems serving SMVF; representatives from military family coalitions; peer support coalitions; peer support practitioners; and advocates
SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

  • Moderator: Nicholas Meyer, Assistant Director, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (SMVF) Technical Assistance Center
  • Daniel O’Brien-Mazza, M.S., Director of Peer Support Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • William L. White, M.A., Senior Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems/Lighthouse Institute
  • John Harris, M.S.W., Q.M.H.P., Military and Veterans Program Manager, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative (VTCPI)

Justice For Vets reports
The Veterans Treatment Court Planning Initiative (VTCPI) is designed to assist jurisdictions in the planning and development of Veterans Treatment Court programs. Justice For Vets staff and a cadre of treatment court practitioners work with planning teams to shape programs, develop policy and procedure manuals, and build team unity.

Selected jurisdictions will participate in a facilitated 6-month planning process. Each jurisdiction will be required to complete pretraining worksheets, attend one 5-day VTCPI training program, maintain routine correspondence with program staff, and submit a Veterans Treatment Court implementation plan or draft policy and procedure manual.

To apply, each interested jurisdiction must complete the online application form and submit a letter of commitment from the participating judge
Learn More At

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 16/Web: US Army AWOL – Practice tips for Civilian Attorneys

The Military Law Task of the National Lawyers Guild along with the Southwest and Texoma regions of the National Lawyers Guild are proud to present this continuing legal education seminar.
US Army AWOL – Practice tips for Civilian Attorneys
Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:30-2:45 p.m. CST Meeting Room B Northwest Oklahoma City Public Library Oklahoma City, OK
Also Webcast: A link for a webchat option will be posted here on the day of the presentation.
Also Recording Replay: Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:30-4:45 p.m., MST University of Denver Sturm College of Law
James M. Branum
The Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild
  • Pending for Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
  • A completed “Uniform Application for Accreditation of Continuing Legal Education credit” will be provided for lawyers in other states.
  • No cost for attendees via the web or at Oklahoma City; donations to the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild are appreciated so that more programs can be conducted
  • Attendees of the Denver presentation are asked to pay $25 at the venue.
  • You can register at the event for those attending in Oklahoma City and Denver.
  • Those attending the live internet presentation need to email James Branum at girightslawyer(at) to get a copy of the workshop materials.
CLE Materials:
All attendees will receive a free copy of the e-book US Army AWOL: A Practice Guide and Formbook by James M. Branum.

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 19/Web: Meeting Legal Needs of Homeless and At-Risk Veterans: Homeless Court Programs and Veteran Treatment Courts #MCLE

For 25 years, Homeless Court Programs (HCP) have used close collaboration between the criminal justice system and service providers to aid homeless veterans in providing proof of engagement with rehabilitation and treatment services to address misdemeanor offenses. For veterans with disabling psychological conditions facing possible incarceration, alternative sentencing programs through Veteran Treatment Courts (VTC) provide an avenue to appropriate treatment, gainful employment and housing stability. Homeless veterans must often address misdemeanor charges, discharge upgrades, child support issues, and other legal issues that can act as barriers to training, education, employment placement, and career growth. Participants in this training will obtain a baseline understanding of court models developed to provide alternatives to incarceration and remove legal barriers to employment placement, permanent housing stability, and availability of treatment services. Speakers will outline important partners in each court model and strategies for engaging with existing courts and developing new courts. Title: Meeting Legal Needs of Homeless and At-Risk Veterans: Homeless Court Programs and Veteran Treatment Courts When/Where: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 3 p.m. EST (Noon PST) Webcast Speakers:
  • Steve Binder, Deputy Public Defender and founder of the nation’s first Homeless Court
  • Matt Stiner, Director of Justice for Vets. HVRP Best Practice grantee Veterans Outreach Center.
By: NCHV’s Technical Assistance Center Preregistration Required More Information And Registration