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Servicemembers Civil Relief Act 

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), was enacted in 2003 to protect people entering the military as well as servicemembers called to active duty and service members who have been deployed. Many of the provisions contained in SCRA can be applied to protect service members who are going through a divorce or other family law matter. The primary purpose of SCRA is to ease legal burdens placed on military personnel brought on by the demands of active duty. SCRA is designed to allow service members to “devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation.” 


The act applies to service members on active duty in all branches of the military, including the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy as well as reservists, members of the National Guard and Air National Guard who have been activated for duty, and active-service commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Lawyers experienced in dealing with the Service members Civil Relief Act 

At Richter Family Law Group, P.C., we are experienced in dealing with all aspects of SCRA. An attorney knowledgeable in SCRA can be extremely important in divorce and family law matters. We are often called upon to utilize the provisions contained in SCRA in family law matters.

Several of the most common uses for SCRA are as follows: 

Stay of Proceedings: If you are on active duty and are prevented from attending a scheduled court appearance, SCRA allows you to request the postponement of proceedings, including administrative proceedings involving child support. Such actions can be stopped for at least 90 days. The exact rules under SCRA depend upon whether you have filed anything in court, and whether you had notice of the proceedings. If you have not filed anything or otherwise made an “appearance,” it is the duty of the court to determine whether you are in the military. If it is determined that you are an active duty member of the military, the court must grant a stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days. If you have notice or have filled anything or made an “appearance,” the court may upon its own motion put a hold on the proceedings for a period of not less than 90 days and must issue such a stay upon your request. Such a request must include: 


  1. A letter or other communication setting forth facts stating the manner in which current military duty requirements materially affect your ability to appear and stating a date when you will be available to appear, and

  2. A letter or other communication from your commanding officer stating that your current military duty prevents you from attending court and that military leave is not authorized at the time of the waiver. In either case, it is important to contact a family law attorney experienced in military law. At Richter Family Law Group, P.C., we have experience handling cases involving the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. 


Setting Aside Default Judgments: If a default judgment was rendered against you while you were on active duty in the military and could not be present to defend yourself, the court may set aside the judgment and reopen the case if the result of the judgment negatively affected you. However, you must file a request, called a motion, with the court within 90 days of leaving active duty. It is important to contact an experienced attorney to prepare and file the motion on your behalf. At Richter Family Law Group, P.C., we are attorneys with experience in setting aside default judgments for military service members. 

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