How does the SCRA affects your divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2020 | Divorce |

Divorce complicates anything, but it can tangle things more when you or your spouse is on active duty in the military. The two emotional tolls of active duty and separation are a high burden to carry, which is why certain federal acts are in place to relieve said pressures. 

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), as defined by the Department of Justice, eases financial burdens for soldiers on active duty in the five branches of military. This includes maximum interest caps, foreclosures and contracts. For the purposes of divorce cases, Benefit and Protection No. 2 affects things the most by staying civil proceedings and protecting against default judgement. 

Stay on civil proceedings 

Courts must enact at least a 90-day stay on civil proceedings. This is to provide you or your spouse ample time to receive word of the proceedings and arrange for proper leave to appear in court, a military attorney to represent them in their place or other means of appearance like video conferencing. Depending on their orders, the active duty party may extend this stay through further reapplications. While this is useful, it can bog down proceedings if you are the civilian that wants this separation to go through. 

Protection from default judgments 

Court are unlikely to enter an order against you or your spouse if engaged in active duty. This is to assist the soldier in question while they serve their country. But this can also apply to child custody orders, which can put spouses that cannot afford their livelihood in a bind. 

There are many caveats to these protections. Affidavits to confirm or deny active duty status can affect whether this applies at all. Diligence and resources can help you through this confusion.