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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

38961818_S.jpgOne unique aspect of military family law is that the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may apply to child custody, paternity, divorce or child support actions involving an active duty member of the military, particularly when that person is deployed.

It is relatively odd that federal law regulates topics that are normally matters left up to the different states, but Congress thought it was appropriate that soldiers and sailors who were away serving the United States should not have to worry about various legal matters taking place at home, especially litigation that the servicemember simply cannot attend or devote time to.

Even in civil family law matters that affect children, the Act gives a soldier or sailor the right to claim a legal delay in the final proceedings until several weeks after they return home from deployment. Should they properly do so, an Illinois court will not be able to issue any final orders in a divorce or other family law case until the mandatory waiting time elapses.

The Act does not, however, prevent a court from issuing temporary orders. For instance, if it happens that the father is deployed, then a mother at home can obtain an order awarding her custody of the children on a temporary basis, as the Act is not intended to create a situation in which a child is in legal limbo.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act can raise a variety of legal questions in the minds of both military personnel who want to invoke their rights under it and those Springfield, Illinois, residents who would prefer to get things done in their family law case more quickly. An Illinois attorney with experience in military family law can help answer these types of questions.

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