According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 2012, there are approximately 21.2 million military veterans living in the United States. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 769,384 live in North Carolina. Currently, there are a little more than 1.4 million active military members and 850,000 reservists.
Having served as a Soldier in the Army National Guard, I understand what it is like to be called to active duty and deploy overseas. Not only can this be a stressful experience, it can be difficult to maintain your obligations and debts. Communication may be difficult or non-existent, which makes it challenging to make mortgage payments, credit card payments, car payments, or pay your taxes. Additionally, you may be called to active duty and need to terminate an outstanding lease or postpone a pending trial.
Whether you are Active Duty, a Reservist, a member of the National Guard, or a military family member, you may experience legal issues concerning your service while at home or during deployment. These issues are especially hard to deal with while overseas where communication may be limited. Many veterans have legal issues concerning their service obligations. All veterans deserve an attorney that understands their issues and can deal with them adequately.
Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act(SCRA) was enacted to provide certain protections from civil actions while the servicemember is called to active duty. This law was designed to allow the servicemember to give their full attention to duty and relieve any stress these obligations may place on their families.
To be eligible for SCRA protection, you must be on active duty. Thus, all Active Duty servicemembers are covered, while Reservists and members of the National Guard are covered only while on active duty. Generally, SCRA protection begins on the date of entering active duty and extends until 30 to 90 days after discharge from active duty.
Benefits of the SCRA include:
The amount of interest that may be collected on military servicemembers is limited to 6 percent per year while during the period of military service. In other words, no interest above 6 percent can accrue for credit obligations while on active duty. Any interest above 6 percent will be permanently forgiven.
While serving on active duty, a house or apartment that is rented for dwelling purposes, which rent does not exceed $2720.95 per month (this amount is subject to change), requires a court order to authorize eviction. This provision applies regardless of whether the rental agreement was entered before or after entry into military service. Generally, this provision allows a stay of the eviction of up to three months, or any other "order as may be just," if military service materially affects the servicemember's ability to pay rent. This provision is designed to protect servicemembers and their families who cannot pay rent due to military hardships.
Servicemembers are protected from certain judicial proceedings until they are released from active duty. Both civil and criminal actions must be stayed until a servicemember returns from deployment or overseas active duty.
While serving on active duty, a servicemember's health insurance and life insurance are protected against lapse, termination, or forfeiture.
A servicemember who entered into an installment contract to purchase real estate or personal property, such as a motor vehicle, may be protected if they are unable to make payments due to their military service. The contract must have been entered into prior to entry into active duty.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects the civilian employment of veterans and members of military reserve components. When reservists and members of the National Guard are called to active duty, USERRA guarantees their civilian jobs upon release. In order to be eligible for USERRA protection, a servicemember must:
Give his or her employer advance written or verbal notice of upcoming service;
Spend no more than five years of cumulative active duty service while with that particular employer;
Return to work for your employer in a timely manner after being released from active duty; AND
Not be separated from the military with a disqualifying discharge or under other than honorable conditions.
If you are currently serving on Active Duty, a Reservist, a member of the National Guard, or a Veteran, an officer from the JAG Corps may be able to offer you legal representation or legal resources. If you prefer a private attorney, and would like to speak about your rights, please contact Adkins Law. HOOAH!
Uniform Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA)
The Uniformed Deployed Parent Custody and Visitation Act (UDPCVA) addresses child custody and visitation issues among military families. The UDPCVA provides that a court may not consider a parent's past deployment or possible future deployment as the sole basis for determining the child's best interests during a custody proceeding. The UDPCVA also prevents permanent custody orders from being entered while a parent is deployed. The goal of the UDPCVA is to help servicemembers balance their military duties with their parental duties, and to prevent deploying parents from being penalized for their service.
Contact Adkins Law to schedule a consultation with an experienced Huntersville lawyer. One of our Huntersville attorneys can arrange a consultation to discuss your legal needs in detail. Our law firm has earned a reputation for our bold and innovative approach to getting our clients the best results.