The Legal Assistance Office (LAO) assists active duty personnel and retirees of all services and their family members with their personal legal affairs. Free help is available for nonmilitary matters such as: 

  • writing wills
  • understanding rental contracts
  • dealing with creditors
  • preparing and filing income tax returns
  • counseling on divorce
  • advising on civil suits
  • preparing powers of attorney
  • performing notarization

The Legal Assistance Office has moved into Cottage 358 (Tax Center) located on Buffalo Soldier Trail off Pvt. Bolio Rd, Presidio of Monterey.

Follow the Tax Center signs and use the Tax Center parking spaces on Buffalo Soldier Trail. Call 831-242-5084 to make Legal Assistance appointments, and for Tax Center Appointments call 831-242-7365.

Army Legal Assistance Website:

This web page has additional information on a wide variety of personal legal affairs and provides topical information of a general nature. Every case is different. For specific advice, consult a legal assistance attorney or a private attorney or other professional of your choice.

Foreclosure Basics

Foreclosure is the most commonly used legal process by which a lender or other real property lien holder may dispossess you of your home and sell the home in order to obtain repayment of a debt. A foreclosure most often results from a failure to make timely mortgage payments or other default on your home loan.

More information on foreclosures


Homebuyer's Checklist

Exercise due diligence before any real estate purchase using this 16 point checklist.

View the checklist


Real Estate Ownership, Mortgage, Taxes and Rental

Purchasing a house can be one of the most important decisions you can make. Such transactions involve formal contracts for the purchase of the home, which carry substantial financial and legal responsibilities the moment they are signed. As real estate transactions are inherently complex, and involve detailed questions of state and Federal law, and deal with large sums of money, you should consult with a legal assistance attorney at the earliest opportunity in the buying or selling process.

More information


Tax on Home Sale Info Sheet

This document provides detailed information on the tax treatment of capital gain on sale of a home.

Retirees and Former Spouses

Selected Former Spouses' Protection Act Information sites:

Summary of Military Benefits Available to Former Spouses of Military Members
(Army Judge Advocate General’s School)

Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

Length of Time that Marriage Overlaps with Service
Creditable for Retirement Purposes


Number of years

Benefit for Former Spouses

0 < 10

10 < 15

15 < 20



Division of Retired Pay






Designation as an SBP Beneficiary






DFAS Direct Payment of -


Child Support












Property Division






Health Care


























Post Exchange (PX)






Legal Assistance






Dependent Abuse


Retired Pay Property Share Equivalent






Transitional Compensation






Chart Notes

  • Pub. L. 97-252, Title X, 96 Stat. 730 (1982), as amended. This chart reflects all changes to the Act through the amendments in the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1994, Pub. L. 103-160 (1993).
  • For guidance on obtaining a military identification card to establish entitlement for health care, commissary, and PX benefits, see appropriate service regulations (3.g. AR 640-3). Former spouses of reserve component members may be entitled to these benefits; see the following notes for applicable benefits.
  • Except for Dependent Abuse Victims Transitional Compensation payments, this chart assumes that the member serves long enough to retire from an active duty component or reserve component of the Armed Force (generally this will mean (s)he has twenty years of service creditable for retirement purposes, but can mean fifteen years in the case of the Voluntary Early Release and Retirement Program.
  • At least one court has awarded a portion of military retired pay to a spouse whom the retiree married after he retired, Konzen v. Konzen, 103 Wash.2d 470, 693 P.2d 97, cert denied, 473 U.S. 906 (1985).
  • Federal law does not create any minimum length of overlap for this benefit; the parties’ agreement or state law will control a former spouse’s entitlement to designation an SBP beneficiary.
  • See 10 U.S.C. 1408 (d) & 1408 (e) and 32 C.F.R. part 63 for further guidance on mandatory language in the divorce decree or court-approved separation agreement. The former spouse initiates the direct payment process by sending a written request to the appropriate finance center.
  • While eligibility for direct payment does not extend to former spouses whose overlap of marriage and service is less that ten years, this is not a prerequisite to award of a share of retired pay as property to the former spouse (see Note 4).
  • To qualify for any health care provided or paid for by the military, the former spouse must be unremarried and must not be covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan; see 10 U.S.C. 1072(2)(F), 1072(2)(G & 1072(2)(H). Department of the Army interpretation of this provision holds that termination of a subsequent marriage by divorce or death does not revive this benefit, but an annulment does. These remarriage and employer-insurance restrictions do no limit eligibility to enroll in the civilian health care insurance plan discussed in Note 11.
  • Transitional health care “was created by Pub. L. 98-625, 645 (C)(not codified), as a stop-gap measure while a civilian health care plan was negotiated for former spouses and other who lose an entitlement to receive military health care (see Note 11). The program subsequently was modified and narrowed by the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1989, Pub. L. 100-456, Title VI, 651, 102 Stat. 1990 (1988). Current program benefits are described at 10 U.S.C. 1078a.titled “Continued Health Benefits Coverage.” Qualifying former spouses are those who are unremaried, who have no employer-sponsored health insurance, and who meet the “20/20/15” requirement (i.e., married to the member for at least 20 years, and the member has at least 20 years of service that are creditable for retirement purposes, and the marriage overlaps at least 15 years of the creditable service). Transitional health care now includes full military health care for 1 year after the date of the divorce, and during this period the former spouse is eligible to enroll in the civilian group health care plan negotiated by DOD (see Note 11). Note: that for health purposes, 10 U.S.C. 1072 (2)(G) treats a 20/20/15 former spouse as if he or she were a full 20/20/20 former spouse (20 years of marriage, 20 years of service, and 20 years of overlap) if the divorce decree is dated before April 1, 1995. A 20/20/15 former spouse of a reserve component retiree with a divorce decree prior to April 1, 1985, can receive full health care too, but only if the member survives to age 60 or if he or she elected to participate in the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Program upon becoming retirement eligible.
  • “Full health care” includes health care at military treatment facilities and that provided through the CHAMPUS insurance program. A former spouse of a reserve component retiree is eligible for this benefit upon the retiree’s 60th birthday (or on the day the retiree would have been 60 if (s)he dies before reaching age 60) if (s)he meets the normal qualification rules (i.e., an unremarried 20/20/20 former souse who is not covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan); see 10 U.S.C. 1076 (b)(2).
  • Implementation of the Department of Defense Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) was directed by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 1993 (see 10 U.S.C. 1078a). It is a premium based program of temporary continued health benefits coverage available to eligible beneficiaries. Medical benefits mirror those available under the basic CHAMPUS program, but CHCBP is not part of CHAMPUS. For further information on this program, contact a military medical treatment facility health benefits advisor, or contact the CHCBP Administrator, P.O. Box 1608, Rockville, MD 20849-1608 (1-800-809-6119). The CHCBP replaces the Uniformed Services Voluntary Insurance Program (USVIP).
  • Pursuant to statute and service regulations, commissary and PX benefits are to be available to a former spouse “to the same extent and on the basis as the surviving spouse of a retired member… Pub. L. 97-252, Title X 1005, 96 Stat. 737 (1982); see Army Regulation 640-3. The date of the divorce is no longer relevant for commissary and PX purposes. See Pub. L. 98-525, Title IV, 645, 98 Stat. 2549 (1984) (amending Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act 006(d). The former spouse must be “unmarried,” and, unlike the rules for health care, any termination of a subsequent marriage revives these benefits. Qualified former spouses of reserve component retirees receive commissary and PX benefits when the retiree reaches age 60 (or when (s)he would have reached age 60 if the retiree dies before that time, but in such cases the entitlement arises only if the retiree elected to participate in the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan when (s)he became retirement eligible; see AR 640-3). Notwithstanding the provision of the Act and the regulation, however, the extent of commissary and exchange privileges in overseas locations may be restricted by host-nation customs law.
  • When a retirement-eligible member receive a punitive discharge via court-martial, or is discharged via administrative separation processing, the members retirement benefits are lost. In certain cases where the court-martial or separation action was based on dependent abuse, eligible spouses may receive their court-ordered share of retired pay (divided as property) as if the member had actually retired. Authority for these payments was created in the National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1993, 653, Pub. L. 103-484. An overlap of marriage and service of at least ten years is a prerequisite to receipt of payments. The National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1994, 555, Pub. L. 103-160, clarifies that eligibility begins on the date the sentence is approved and does not have to wait until the member is actually discharged.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act, Fiscal year 1994, 554, Pub. L. 103-160, also created authority for monthly transitional compensation to dependents of a non-retirement eligible member separated from the service by reason of dependent abuse.

Veterans Resources

Army Regulation 27-3 allows DLIFLC/POM Legal Assistance Office to provide legal services for Uniformed Service Members currently on Active Duty status, Service Members retired from active duty and military ID card holding dependants. We are also authorized to provide Legal Services to Reservists on active duty status or who are currently receiving their pensions from their military reserve services. In an effort to help our Veterans, this office has put together this information page with contacts that may provide support to those individuals we are unable to serve in accordance with Army Regulations.

*The agencies below are not endorsed by our office and are provided solely as a source of contact information.







National Veterans Legal Services Program
P. O. Box 65762
Washington, DC 20035
Phone: 202.265.8305


21 West Laurel Drive, Suite 83
Salinas, California 93906

915 Hilby Avenue, Suite 2
Seaside, California 93955


1227 O Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
1 (800) 952-5626
1 (800) 324-5966 (TDD)
1 (800) 221-8998 (Outside California)



National HQ
3725 Alexandria Pike
Cold Spring, KY 41076
(877) I AM A VET
(877) 426-2438

Local Commander
Beth L. Kane
PO Box 1385
Seaside, CA 93955
Phone: (831) 384-9400

Local Adjutant
James Bogan
PO Box 1452
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 901-5544


Monterey: 1200 Aguajito Road, Suite 003
Telephone: (831) 647-7613

Salinas: 1000 S. Main St, Suite 209A
Telephone: (831) 647-7613

Seaside/FT. Ord: 3401 Engineer Lane (VA Clinic)
Telephone: (831) 647-7613


1110 Jefferson St 
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 375-9015

POST 591
1000 Playa Ave
Seaside, CA 93955
(831) 394-6604


Post 1629 Monterey Peninsula Nisei Memorial Post
PO Box 1854
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone: (831) 384-8493

Post 8679 Sea-Mont Memorial Post
PO Box 25
Seaside, CA 93955-0025
Phone: (831) 394-7031

Post 811 Fort Ord Memorial Post
PO Box 475
Marina, CA 939330475

Post 6849
Lt. Billy Paulsen Jr.
PO Box 7025
Spreckels, CA 939627025
Phone: (831) 422-4964


Legal Assistance for Wounded Warriors

No Soldier is more deserving of our best efforts than a Soldier wounded in combat. Red tape and other problems face wounded Soldiers and their Families. These difficulties prolong recovery and frustrate the heroes who have sacrificed so much for our Nation.

The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate’s intent is to reach out to our wounded
Soldiers and their Families in every way possible. Specifically:

  • Network with other staff sections and installation agencies to ensure all wounded Soldiers are fully aware of the legal assistance services available, and how to obtain them;
  • Coordinate with the California Medical Detachment commander to emphasize our readiness to assist Soldiers and help the facility accomplish its challenging missions; and
  • Ensure that wounded Soldiers in the Palo Alto VA Hospital are personally offered assistance, and that, to the extent practicable, past Purple Heart recipients are also made aware of the available legal assistance services.


Wounded service members and their family members located within the general Monterey area, including those being treated at the Palo Alto VA Hospital, may contact the Presidio of Monterey Legal Assistance Office at 831-242-5084.



If you have a deployment-related physical or mental condition, you are entitled to legal rights and assistance.  The Presidio of Monterey Staff Judge Advocate Office (SJA) is here to assist you in understanding and enforcing your rights.


1. Medical Care You have the right to medical care at Army and Veterans Administration (VA) facilities, and, in certain cases, temporary housing for you and your family.


2. Medical And Disability Boards You may be required to attend Medical Review Boards and similar proceedings to determine your fitness for duty and your eligibility for disability benefits. You are entitled to legal counsel to assist you in understanding these procedures.


3. Veterans Benefits As a returning veteran, you are entitled to a variety of benefits, many of them administered by the VA.  The Legal Assistance Office can help you obtain these benefits.


4.  Reasonable Accommodation at Work Pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are entitled to have your civilian job back when you demobilize, and you are also entitled to reasonable accommodations for your injuries.


5.  Assistance With Housing and Credit Issues If your deployment and medical condition has affected your housing or credit situation, the Service Members Civil Relief Act provides certain legal protections to you, which the Legal Assistance Office can help you enforce.


6.  Legal Assistance The Presidio of Monterey Legal Assistance Office will provide or ensure that Wounded Warriors and their Families receive the benefits to which they are entitled.