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Steven P. Shewmaker
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Steven Shewmaker’s Answers

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  • I have being separate from my husband for about 5 years, if he decide to divorce me, do I will have any benefits?

    I have being separate from my husband for about 5 years, if he decide to divorce me, do I will have any benefits? Asked 4 days ago - Columbia, SC I am 59 and he is 61 . Even when we are separate, ( by his choice, not legally) last year we went t...

    Steven’s Answer

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    Whether you will get any of his pensions is a matter for the state court judge. A jury is an option if your divorce occurs in one of the two remaining states where a jury may be used in a domestic matter (those being Texas and Georgia). In all likelihood, a judge alone will decide this. The judge is allowed to award either of you a fair percentage of the pension earned during the marriage, but not what was earned before the marriage. Based upon your length of marriage, I believe you stand a good change of getting a fair amount. Just keep in mind that the federal government cannot pay you more than 50% of his pension to you directly as a division of property (and another 15% maximum for alimony or child support).

    Of course he will say you will get nothing. That is what he is supposed to say to scare you. He hopes to scare you into a quick settlement that favors him. Also, he may be ignorant and actually believe what he says.

    Another matter is whether your five years apart (or not apart) will effect a division of his pensions earned in those five years. States have different laws about that. In my state, Georgia, that matter is left totally to the discretion of the judge (or a jury!). Do not just give in to what he says. I know you have been married to him for a long time, but he is not always right, is he? Why would he be right this time?

    Be advised that if you qualify for medical benefits, that will dry up if you remarry. Your pension award is not going to dry up if you remarry. Pension is a division of property, you can remarry time and time again and keep getting that portion of his pension, BUT, if you have the Survivor Benefit Plan and remarry, you will lose that.

    There could be a lot going on here. I recommend you find a licensed South Carolina attorney in the Colombia area for a consult. Many of us on Avvo also give free consults. Good luck to you Ma'am.

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  • What is an Article 138 of the UCMJ and in what situation can a soldier use it?

    If my commander is constantly using the word sh** towards me and in front of the other soldiers, is there something I can do about? For example, he is constantly looking at me to see what I am doing and I noticed that he was looking but did not sa...

    Steven’s Answer

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    No no no. Article 138 is when the commander should be taking a non-discretionary action and he refuses to do so. Here, your commander is belittling or harassing you. You should always address this head on and ask the commander to cease doing this. Put it in an email, so there is no denying the message was conveyed.

    If it continues, there are regulations against unprofessional conduct. Depending upon your branch of service, they may vary. I know, for example, that the Army is cracking down harshly on "toxic leadership". In fact, it is getting a ton of mileage out of Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, particularly the section against “bullying”.

    This regulation - in a nutshell - says that if you feel the commander is singling you out for the purposes of belittling and bullying you, you can lodge a complaint. To whom? To Equal Opportunity, to his higher commander, to the Inspector General, to whomever.

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  • If my commander is doing a commanders inquiry on me can they start survalancing my house before they notify my I'm under investi

    I've heard my commander started a commanders inquiry on me and that my house is under survalancing but I haven't even been questioned yet

    Steven’s Answer

    In my humble opinion, it would be unusual for them to watch your house. It may not be illegal to do so, but it is not common. They can make observations in public areas to public areas without breaking the law. They can make observations before launching a formal inquiry, but it seems very unusual to me.

    You may wish to speak to your base trial defense or legal assistance judge advocate about it a bit more.

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  • Can a shoplifting at age 16 be expunged from record in GA?. What options can they have?

    Relative's daughter (16 yo) is caught shoplifting at Kohls in Forsyth county, GA. Got the citation and wait for court date. It's her first offense. What can they expect to happen in court? Will this stay on her permanent record? She is a strai...

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, hire an attorney. Chances are good that an attorney can get the case dismissed. You are correct that the stakes are too high to not address it promptly and aggressively with an attorney. Many of us on Avvo give free consults.

    Good luck

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  • I was stopped for dui took a blood test came back negative but had nordiazpam lower than the lowest calibrator do I need a lawye

    Was charged with failure 2 maintain lane as well and refused to take test was given one anyway

    Steven’s Answer

    That FACT that you are asking these questions means you need a lawyer. Your description is vague, so it is hard to answer. For example, you say you were cited for failure to maintain lane as well as "refused to take test", but then you mention that you had a blood test anyway. You are all over the place.

    If you were stopped and arrested for DUI, then it is very likely the officer read you an Implied Consent warning. He did this and then asked you to submit to a state test of your blood, breath (first and most likely) or urine. You say you took a blood test which came back low or "lowest". If you were a "refusal" did they take you driver's license? Did they issue you a piece of paper instead of your license?

    These are basic questions that a qualified lawyer would ask you to figure out what exactly is going on here. You need a real lawyer - not an Avvo - commentary, and you need it very soon.

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  • What if I was drive without license in had a blow out on my car, in want to jail. Is that revoking my probation..

    Had a blow out on my car... Need help my probation officer or try to take me to jail....

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes. That could be a problem for you.

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  • How should I proceed?

    I need to ask questions of a lawyer who understands HIPAA related laws, and a little about UCMJ.

    Steven’s Answer

    Sure, many of us on Avvo give free phone consults.

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  • How can i get out early? im currently 3 years in the navy as an e-4

    i just need an answer real quick, im stressed out and i believe this organization is beyond biased.

    Steven’s Answer

    Short answer: See Legal Assistance for a consult regarding hardship discharges. They may be able to come up with some creative way to persuade the Navy to let you go early. It is legal, and that is what they are there for.

    Better Answer: Ride out your time with honorable service. Choose not to reenlist. Move on gracefully in life and join the large number of veterans who have served this country honorably.

    Wacky Answer: Light up a joint in front of the first Captain you come across. This - or equally bad conduct - will get you a less than honorable discharge that will follow you for the rest of the days you walk this Earth. Don't do that. Stick it out. You can make it to the end of your enlistment.

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  • Can my 9-11 GI Bill education benefits passed to my daughter (tuition + housing allowance) be used to reduce my child support?

    The new Post 9-11 GI Bill allows me to transfer my education benefits to my daughter. The program pays for tuition, a housing allowance and some fees. I understand that in Texas, and in many other states, a child attending college is still eligibl...

    Steven’s Answer

    You have a child support obligation for your daughter. As long as your daughter is a minor and in high school (or lower grades) you have a monthly child support obligation - every single month. If you agreed in a court order or were ordered to pay for college support (or are obligated past age 18 while she is in college) then your obligation continues.

    Can you offset your obligation with the GI Bill, assuming you transfer it to yoru daughter?

    Yes you can, if you and her mother do it by agreement. I would prefer that your court order was amended to reflect that agreement.

    Can you go to court - over the mother's objection - and have the judge give you credit for the GI Bill transfer to your daughter? Maybe. To your credit, it is money that you and only you can voluntarily transfer to yoru daughter. (The judge cannot make you do this.) The judge could allow this.

    Could this move backfire on you? Maybe. The judge could say that you and the mother still have to each cover 50% of her college expenses after the GI Bill. Since your transfer is voluntary, I doubt the judge would do this, but it is possible.

    First, figure how much GI Bill you have available to transfer from the VA. Get an estimate and show it to her mother. Estimate how much it is worth and how much you want to offset the chold support.

    I hope this helps.

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  • Is it permissible for a county sheriff department to arrest a retired military officer on child support.

    I have been arrested and charged.,even tghough I am paying through DFAS monthly

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, it is. Stop worrying about your retired military status. It is not relevant to this. Start focusing on what you are ordered to pay in child support versus what you have paid. Hire a lawyer well versed in family law in your area.

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