From class project to practical manual for veterans

From class project to practical manual for veterans

As a family law student, Brentt McGee was surprised to learn there is no comprehensive guide to veteran family law in Kentucky.

So he decided to compile one.

What started out as a group project for class has morphed into a mission to provide attorneys with a convenient place to access family law as it pertains to veterans.

"Our hope is that it will get published eventually and eventually get out into the hands of lawyers," says McGee, who graduated from the Brandeis School of Law in May 2016.

When it comes to family law as it applies to veterans, there are some circumstances that civilians don't face, McGee said.

For example, in child support cases, the question of what constitutes income is common because veterans can receive financial support from many areas.

Or in a divorce, what assets can and can't be separated? And how are military pensions divided? And how does a veteran's current domicile affect where and when he or she can file for divorce?

These questions might be of special interest to McGee, who was commissioned into the United States Marine Corps in 2013.

McGee doesn't come from a military family and wasn't aware of all the differences between veteran and civilian family law.

He’s relied on the several others for their assistance, including his own classmates, law students in other states working on similar projects, a veterans association in Washington state and Louisville’s Legal Aid Society.

He also credits Professor Jamie Abrams, in whose family law class the project begun, for her encouragement.

“She was extremely uplifting,” McGee says. “She lets you run with your ideas and doesn’t keep you in the box.”

McGee hopes to finish the manual this summer and then work on finding a publisher.

"Other than not doing it the semester before you graduate," McGee jokes, he advises other students to not be discouraged when taking on large-scale projects.

"Law school will always be a lot," he says. "You don't go to law school to be mediocre — you go to be great."