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What is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act?

On Behalf of | Nov 27, 2023 | Divorce

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act is a federal statute first adopted in 1940. The law includes provisions that prevent creditors and other parties from attempting to take an active-duty servicemember to civil court. In 2003, changes to this important law upgraded some of the protections available to reflect modern needs and also changed its name to the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act.

As a result of this law, those serving in any branch of the United States military generally do not need to worry about collection activity while they are deployed on active duty. In fact, they have 60 days of protection after their service ends. The law not only prevents lawsuits but imposes limits on interest. Lenders can usually only charge up to 6% in interest during someone’s active service. The law also offers mortgage relief and protection from eviction.

Despite what the name implies, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act protects servicemembers from more than just civil lawsuits. It can also play a role in family law matters, including Louisiana divorce.

Spouses can’t file during a partner’s deployment

The most important protection extended by the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act is a delay in divorce filings. Someone deployed for military service would not be able to physically attend court nor meetings with an attorney to prepare for divorce hearings. Even if teleconferencing is an option, the distraction caused by such a traumatic family experience could compromise a servicemember’s performance during their deployment.

Therefore, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act protects people from a scenario in which their spouse files for divorce during their deployment. Spouses cannot file while a servicemember is abroad or in the 60 days immediately following the end of their active duty. Servicemembers will have time to come home, work on their relationships and potentially prepare for legal challenges they may soon face.

By allowing service members to focus on their careers, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act protects them from issues while deployed and also gives them an opportunity to work on their marriage after returning from deployment. For this and a host of other reasons, seeking legal guidance and learning more about the laws that apply to military divorces in Louisiana may benefit those surfing in the military and their spouses.