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Understanding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The purpose of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ("SCRA") is to allow the suspension of certain legal and administrative proceedings involving servicemembers who are unable to attend to their legal or financial obligations because of their military service to our country. The SCRA is a very technical law and failure to follow its dictates could result in a denial of a request for a stay. Stays are also not automatic, as the servicemember must demonstrate that he or she is "materially affected" because of his or her military service. Courts and counsel can find the law to be obtuse, but there are many good guides to the statute, including the "Michigan Judge's Guide to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act," which can be found on-line. These guides are useful in helping counsel understand the requirements of the law, whether representing the military person in need of a stay, or the litigant opposing a request for a stay.

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