As a nation, we are eternally grateful for the bravery shown and the sacrifices made by the men and women serving in our armed forces. While we can never truly repay them for their efforts and their commitment, we nevertheless try our best through the provision of healthcare, education, employment and other benefits.
Indeed, another way in which the nation, or more specifically Congress, has expressed its gratitude to our armed forces personnel is through the passage of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act or the SCRA.
What is the SCRA?
The SCRA is a federal law designed to extend certain protections to servicemembers in civil actions. Specifically, it calls for the temporary suspension of administrative and judicial proceedings that could adversely affect their interests during military service.
The rationale is that not only is it inequitable for servicemembers to be unable to appear in court to protect their interests, but that these legal matters can create undue stress, potentially jeopardizing their ability to protect the nation.
What are the primary protections of the SCRA?
The primary safeguards provided by the SCRA for armed forces personnel include protection against the entry of default judgments, stays of proceedings where the servicemember has notice, and vacations/stays of the execution of judgments, garnishments and attachments.
Who’s covered by the SCRA?
All members of the U.S. military on active duty and all U.S. citizens serving in the military of a U.S. ally during a war/military action are covered by the SCRA. Certain sections of the law are applicable to those inductees who have yet to be formally inducted into military service, and reservists who have received orders but not yet reported for duty.
A servicemember is no longer covered by the SCRA in the event of discharge from active duty or within 90 days of discharge.
Does the SCRA apply to bankruptcy proceedings?
According to legal experts, the plain language of the SCRA, along with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, make it clear that it is indeed applicable in actions or proceedings commenced in bankruptcy court.
Whether you are a member of our nation’s armed forces who would like to learn more about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and the protections provided by the SCRA, or a civilian with questions about securing a fresh start, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.