Minnesota Families and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

April 27, 2016

in Minnesota Divorce, Service Members Civil Relief Act

All of us are grateful for the many men and women who serve this country both here and abroad. In keeping with that respect and gratitude, our government passed the Minnesota Families and theServicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to help these individuals fully protect their legal rights while serving on active duty.

Obviously, when you or your spouse are away from home, it can become quite challenging to properly handle all marital and family responsibMinnesota Families and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)ilities on a timely basis.

What is the SCRA Designed to Accomplish?

In general, the SCRA is supposed to help servicemembers fully concentrate on their assigned tasks. According to California attorney Emily Doskow, author of Nolos Essential Guide to Divorce, the SCRA was passed in order to provide for the temporary suspension and administrative proceedings and transactions that might adversely affect the civil rights of servicemembers during their military service.

In some situations, a commanding officer must provide a statement indicating that a servicemembers need or rights may be damaged if a specific legal action is allowed to move forward. However, efforts are made to fully protect both spouses rights, especially when the needs of children are involved.

Heres a look at some general family law issues and other legal rights your Minnesota family law attorney can discuss with you in greater detail.

Ways the SCRA May Impact Fully Intact or Divorcing Families (Re: Child Custody, etc.)

  • Default judgments against a party serving our country may be delayed. In many ways, this is only fair although courts will not postpone addressing the needs of children involved in a divorce. Also, when one spouse is filing for divorce, approving too many delays can rob one party of his/her legal right to move on separately without the other spouse (regardless of whether any children are involved);
  • Temporary child custody orders may be required. In a number of instances, especially involving child custody, support, and visitation, courts can enter temporary orders that are binding until the party serving the country returns home to address the legal issues at hand. Likewise, if youre planning to file for divorce or ask to amend your divorce decree, you should schedule an appointment with your Minnesota divorce attorney prior to leaving;
  • A formal stay of proceedings can prevent an eviction and other negative acts when a tenant is on active duty. According to one Minnesota court website, Section 531 of the SCRA can help the family members of a spouse on active duty — living in a house, condo, or rental unit avoid or postpone eviction for an extend period of time;
  • Married spouses can benefit from a 6% limit on interest applied to credit cards and loans. This type of help can prove very helpful since servicemembers do not always receive very high wages compared to their peers working in the private sector;
  • The SCRA can help prevent or delay utility shut-offs and cancellation of cell phone contracts. While this type of help isnt automatic, your lawyer can help you determine if you have a right to this type of protection while one spouse is deployed;
  • Termination of a vehicle lease. Should this prove to be too financially burdensome once one spouse has left to go on active duty, this type of lease can sometimes be terminated;
  • When the SCRA starts and ends coverage for servicemembers. The SCRA provides its protections to all of the following: Active Duty servicemembers, Reservists, and the members of the National Guard. The protection begins on the date of entering active duty and generally terminates within 30 to 90 days after the date of discharge from active duty.

Finally, all service members must bear in mind that the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act financial provisions only apply to debt incurred prior to[active duty] military service.

Remember, its always wise to schedule a meeting with your Minnesota family law attorney prior to leaving on any new active duty assignments so that all of your familys needs can be fully addressed prior to your departure. Should you be planning to file for divorce, please request a meeting right away.

Minnesota Divorce Lawyers and Attorneys

Contact the law firm today to speak with an experienced divorce attorney in your area. Call for a free consultation at 612-424-0398.

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Joseph Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC is a family law and estate planning lawyer. For further information, check out his website or you can contact him by sending an email

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