Hartley Law Office, LLC

Hartley Law Office, LLC

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Review of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Many of those in and around Dayton, Ohio, who are in the service may be aware that they are entitled to certain legal protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ("Act"). The point of this federal law is to make sure that those who are serving their country, particularly if in deployment, do not wind up unfairly facing legal trouble at home because of their service.

This Act applies to divorce proceedings and other family law matters. Under the terms of the Act, if a servicemember receives notice of a divorce proceeding while on active duty, than the servicemember may apply for and obtain a 90-day stay in the legal proceedings, meaning that the court can take no substantive action in the case while the stay remains in force. A judge also has discretion to extend the stay for an additional 90 days, but this extension is not automatic.

It is important to note that while certainly those deployed or stationed abroad may avail themselves of the protections of this Act, it applies to all military personnel in an active duty status. Thus, even someone who is stateside but simply is heavily engaged in her military duties can receive the benefit of a stay.

While it may not be the right option for everyone, in many cases, a stay is a good idea for a number of reasons. At a minimum, it can give a service member the additional time he needs to gather up important financial documents and other information that could prove to be important during the divorce or separation process.

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