The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA)is a federal law that provides protection for service members involved in civil lawsuits, including divorces and other family law cases. The main goal of the SCRA is give individuals the chance to participate in the court proceedings when they are on active duty with the armed forces.

The SCRA does not stop the lawsuit; it just gives the service member a reasonable time to make arrangements to participate in the court proceedings if his or her military service materially affects his or her ability to participate in the proceedings. Typically, a service member can request a 90-day stay of the proceedings and can ask for an additional stay if needed. The only exception is if there is an immediate action that a court needs to take with respect to a child. In that case, the court can make at least a temporary order that will remain in place until the service member is able to participate and be heard in the proceedings. These orders must relate to the best interests of the child, such as temporary custody and child support orders.

Divorce and family law proceedings can become much more complicated when one or both parties are members of the military. As a result, it is in your best interests to consult a Washington family law attorney about your rights and obligations under Washington law. With our legal knowledge of Washington family law, we can help you make the decisions in your case that will best benefit you and your family in your family law matter. We are here to answer your questions, ease your mind, and help guide you through what is likely to be a difficult proceeding. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we handle family law cases that involve all types of issues, including divorce, child custody, paternity, child support, property division, and spousal support. Contact our office today and see how we can assist you with your Washington family law case.