What Is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that offers servicemembers a number of key protections. Divorcing military members get specific protections under the SCRA, such as the requirement that all states follow certain procedures when a servicemember is going through a divorce.

Who is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act for?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is for active-duty servicemembers. Under the SCRA, you may be able to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations, such as student loan payments, car payments, and mortgage payments. The SCRA also provides protections related to evictions, repossessions, and foreclosures. 

What protections does the SCRA offer?

Some key protections offered by the SCRA include the following:

  • Limiting interest rates on pre-service debt to 6%
  • Halting evictions and foreclosures while on active duty
  • Allowing servicemembers to terminate leases without penalty
  • Preventing creditors from seizing active duty servicemember's wages or bank accounts

How does the SCRA protect divorcing military members?

The law requires all states to follow certain procedures when a servicemember is going through a divorce, including the following:

  • Removing any stays or delays on the proceedings during active duty
  • Allowing for remote participation in legal proceedings if needed due to active duty service

A military spouse cannot proceed with any divorce, child custody, or other related proceedings until at least 60 days after the military member’s service ends. This gives military members the peace of mind they need to focus on their duty, then deal with any family matters upon their return.

Military members also get protections from default judgments while they’re serving. This means if a servicemember were to fall behind on their mortgage, car payments, or any other loans, the creditor cannot take any action against them while they are serving. Notably, however, some family matters, like paternity issues, are considered emergencies that may proceed even if the military member is on active duty. The process is slightly modified to ensure the servicemember is notified and has an opportunity to appear, even remotely.

The SCRA isn't absolute, and it won't box you in. If you’re a servicemember who wants to waive your rights under the SCRA, you are free to do so, allowing your divorce proceedings to keep moving. For example, you may choose to waive your SCRA rights if you agree with the divorce and you and your spouse are amicable.

Hello Divorce offers a menu of cost-effective online divorce plans designed to make getting divorced as stress-free as possible. We also offer attorney consultations to clients who need legal advice. If you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation here.

Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.