By: Victor Talha

MICHIGAN — In Lansing it’s been reported that a landlord demanded  a rental  lease be honored by the renters before the  head of the household, a soldier, got deployed. However, a free legal help program for military families came to the rescue.

“They didn’t break the lease right away; they actually waited for her to have the child before they moved into a new place,” said Army Staff Sgt. Steven Schultz. “The landlord was telling them that they had to pay out the remainder of the lease in exact opposition to the Service Member Relief Act.” In turn the problem was solved with the help of the Legal Service and Referral Program by Cooley Law School’s Service for Soldiers. This service provides Michigan lawyers for people in the military who are about to be deployed, are already deployed, or are within six months of returning from deployment in the field.

“The program addresses diverse legal problems, including those stemming from soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder”, said Kathy Lawrence, Administrative Assistant at the Center of Ethics, Service, and Professionalism at Cooley Law School. “That is actually why the program is so helpful to them, because soldiers that really need the help, instead of just throwing them in jail or whatever, then we can find them treatment programs that help with the anger issues or the stress that they are going through,” she said.

The Law School supplies a list of Attorneys in Michigan who are willing to help our soldiers. There are 180+ attorneys providing the assistance including family law attorneys from Michigan, criminal defense attorneys, probate lawyers, and even personal injury attorneys.  Cooley also sends volunteer students to meet with soldiers to assist with wills and power of attorneys. Also, just  to give briefings on soldier’s rights before deployment. Some of the issues discussed quite often are family Law concerns. From divorces to alimony to child custody battles, no matter what the legal issues are that our soldiers face, it’s  a relief to know there is legal help available.