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What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

Active duty military members are provided protections under what is known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Enacted in 2003, it provides coverage as soon as active duty goes into effect, up until 30 to 90 days after discharge.

SCRA was enacted to provide U.S. military servicemembers the relief of not having to worry about financial or judicial matters while protecting our country. In addition to the active member, protections are also allowed for spouses and children, as well as any individual party who relies on the service member for a minimum 50 percent support, and has done so for at least 6 months prior to utilizing the Act.

Some of these protections include reduced or eliminated interest rates and fees on credit cards or loans, cellular phone service, placing a stay on the termination of any type of lease or contract, stopping eviction, and deferring tax payments.

One of the most important protections is the ability of the servicemember to place a stay on judicial proceedings such as divorce, child custody disputes, civil proceedings and default judgments. This allows the military member to return from active duty, retain adequate legal counsel, and properly defend himself or herself in court. In doing so, it allows the servicemember to stay completely focused on protecting our country without constant worry of what he or she may return home to face.

The SCRA does have a few eligibility requirements. A military attorney can assist in making sure you meet those requirements and completing all necessary paperwork to invoke your protections.

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