What is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?
The most popular relief act for soldiers applicable to family law cases is called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) which was signed into the law on December 19, 2003. This was a revision to the former Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act(SSCRA), which was enacted in 1940. The following is a general outline of the changes which came about with the SCRA of 2003:
- SCRA extends the application of a servicemember's right to stay court hearings to administrative hearings. It now requires a court or administrative hearing to grant at least a 90-day stay if requested by the servicemember. Additional stays can be granted at the discretion of the judge or hearing official.
- Clarifies the rules on the 6% interest rate cap on pre-service loans and obligations by specifying that interest in excess of 6% per year must be forgiven. The absence of such language in the SSCRA had allowed some lenders to argue that interest in excess of 6% is merely deferred. It further defines that a servicemember must request this reduction in writing and include a copy of his/her orders.
- Changes the eviction protection section by precluding evictions from premises occupied by servicemembers for which the monthly rent does not exceed $2,400 for the year 2003 (an increase from the current $1,200). A formula to calculate rent maximum for further years is attached.
- Provides the right to terminate real property leases to active duty soldiers moving pursuant to permanent change of station (PCS) orders or deployment orders of at least 90 days. This eliminates the need to request a military termination clause in leases.
- Incorporates a new provision allowing the termination of automobile leases for use by servicemembers and their dependents. Pre-service automobile leases may be cancelled if the servicemember receives orders to active duty for a period of 180 days or more. Automobile leases entered into while the servicemember is on active duty may be terminated if the servicemember receives PCS orders to a location outside the continental United States or deployment orders for a period of 180 days or more.
- Incorporates a provision that would prevent states from increasing the tax bracket of a nonmilitary spouse who earned income in the state by adding in the service member's military income for the limited purpose of determining the nonmilitary spouse's tax bracket. This practice has had the effect of increasing the military family's tax burden.
- Incorporates legal services as a professional service specifically named under the provision that provides for suspension and subsequent reinstatement of existing professional liability insurance coverage for designated professionals serving on active duty. While the SSCRA specifically names only health care services, legal services have been covered since May 3, 1999 by Secretary of Defense designations. The SSCRA permitted such a Secretarial designation, but this revision will clarify this area.
Previously, the SSCRA applied to members of the National Guard only if they were serving in a Title 10 status. Effective 6 December 2002, the SSCRA protections were extended to members of the National Guard called to active duty for 30 days or more pursuant to a contingency mission specified by the President or the Secretary of Defense.
Family Lawyer for Military Divorces in Temecula
As a military divorce differs somewhat from a standard
divorce, it is imperative that you do not hesitate to contact an experienced
military divorce lawyer familiar with the intricate nature of this area of the law. At the Law Offices of Richard K. Isles, we have the technology available to assist with your divorce wherever you are stationed. While you are out of state or out of country, you can feel comforted in knowing your divorce is in the hands of a qualified family law attorney with years of experience.
If you are in the United States Military and are in need of an experienced divorce attorney who represents military clients located all over the world, do not hesitate to contact a Temecula Military Divorce Lawyer today.