Contact an experienced military family lawyer at the Law Office of Douglas C. Smith if you've been served with a petition for divorce or any other legal process while you're on active duty at Fort Bliss, in Iraq or Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world.
Law Office of Douglas C. Smith - El Paso SCRA Law Firm
The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act protects active duty military personnel, including activated reservists and deployed members of the National Guard, from the initiation or continuation of any legal process against them while serving in the defense of the United States.
Originally known prior to amendment as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, this statute is designed to spare the uniformed military from the stress of civil litigation while their attention should be focused on their missions and assignments. The SCRA provides for the temporary suspension of civil lawsuits, administrative proceedings, and certain transactions that might have an adverse effect on servicemembers' civil rights while engaged in national defense. Actions precluded or interrupted by the SCRA include:
- Divorce actions
- Civil lawsuits to collect debts and non-judicial repossessions
- Cancellation of health or life insurance policies
- Actions to enforce child support obligations
New lawsuits or administrative proceedings cannot be filed against active duty military personnel, and those which were pending against them cannot proceed to default judgment for a period of 60 days after the end of active duty.
There are limits to the benefits of the SCRA, however, especially in family law situations. For example, in child support proceedings, although collection activities are temporarily suspended, the obligations continue to pile up, and your back child support payments might be very substantial.
I can give you sound advice about making the SCRA work for you while you're on active duty without putting yourself in worse shape when you come home. Contacting a child support enforcement office before you head overseas might help; depending on your circumstances, designation of a power of attorney or even a partial waiver of your SCRA rights might be advisable.
For reliable advice and a free consultation about your rights under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, contact me at the Law Office of Douglas C. Smith in El Paso.