Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act – SCRA

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The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act protects active duty military personnel, including activated reservists and deployed members of the National Guard, from the initiation or continuation of any legal process against them while serving in the defense of the United States.

Originally known prior to amendment as the “Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act”, this statute is designed to spare the uniformed military from the stress of civil litigation while their attention should be focused on their missions and assignments. The SCRA provides for a number of protections and can even allow for the temporary suspension of civil lawsuits, administrative proceedings, and certain transactions that might have an adverse effect on servicemembers’ civil rights while engaged in national defense.

The SCRA can protect servicemembers and their families in a number of areas, but some of the most common are:

(1) Outstanding Credit Card Debt

    – reduces all credit card debt incurred prior to active duty or activation on orders to 6%;

    – forgives any interest accrued on debts incurred prior to active duty or activation above 6%;

    – reduces the mandatory monthly payment

(2) Mortgage Payments / Eviction

    – prevents the servicemember and/or dependents from being evicted during a servicemembers activation

(3) Taxes

    – prevents a form of double taxation by excluding the deployed/activated soldier’s income from that of his/her spouse;

    – allows servicemembers to defer taxes owed for up to 180 days after their release from service

(4) Terminations of Leases

    – provides a servicemember who receives orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) the right to terminate a residential lease without penalty;

    – allows a servicemember to break a lease upon the receipt of orders, without penalty;

    – Reduces the amount of rent to a prorated amount for the number of days the servicemember remains in the residence during their last month prior to moving

(5) Court activity

    – a court will stay the execution of any judgments, court actions, garnishments or attachments during the activation period;

    – protection against being found in “default” if a servicemember is unable to attend a court hearing due to their service

There are limits to the benefits of the SCRA, however, especially in family law situations. For example, in child support proceedings, although collection activities are temporarily suspended, the obligations continue to pile up, and your back child support payments might be very substantial.

The SCRA affords a number of other protections that all servicemembers and their families should know.  However, these protections are not without limitations nor do some of these protections arise automatically.  The servicemember must take affirmative steps in many cases in order to secure the rights afforded to them under the SCRA.  Contact us today to learn more.

For more information, please call us for a “No Obligation” phone consultation. You can also learn more about SCRA Law in OKlahoma by visiting the SCRA Military page.

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