How The SCRA Affects Military Divorce Cases

Posted on Jan 17, 2011 by Hofheimer Family Law

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a law protecting military service personnel from civil actions. While the SCRA doesn't make a military member immune to lawsuits, it can delay civil court cases for certain periods of time.

This act was created for servicepersons who are far from home and/or on a mission and genuinely unable to appear in court but some defendants and their attorneys may attempt to use it as a way to avoid addressing a lawsuit in a timely fashion

In a Virginia divorce case, the SCRA can stay the proceedings until the military member is available to appear. While this may sound like it would create a very inconvenient situation for the military member's soon-to-be-ex, the delay can't go on forever.

Delaying a Virginia divorce case for an extended period of time would not be fair to the military member's spouse and children, because the financial support orders involved in a divorce may be essential to meet their daily needs.

Under the SCRA, in order for the stay to be accepted, the military member has to show proof that his military orders prevent him from participating in the case AND he has to provide a date when he will be able to appear.

If it seems that the military member is using the SCRA to avoid divorce court, the serviceperson's spouse, with the help of her Virginia divorce attorney, can oppose a request for a stay on the grounds that it wasn't made in good faith.

The SCRA is one of many laws and guidelines that govern military divorce. These laws determine matters such as your right to military retirement pay, as well as other important issues. Your Virginia divorce attorney can help you sort through these laws and regulations and work toward fair treatment during your military divorce.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

There are very specific rules governing divorce in Virginia. At Hofheimer Family Law Firm we are committed to providing you with the experience and compassion you deserve and the successful results you need to move on with your life. Request a FREE copy of our divorce guide for women in Virginia, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.