This is the last installment of our blog specifically focusing on the SCRA and its effect on Wisconsin military divorces. Previous blogs in this series addressed the relief available for servicemembers and their spouses when a divorce or child custody act is pending. Following are miscellaneous sections of the Act that be relevant in a family matter, with short explanations:
- The servicemember can request an interest rate reduction to 6% on loans incurred prior to military service by writing to the creditor. This can be a valuable tool in cases where the parties are struggling to make ends meet during deployment. The civilian spouse’s lawyer could certainly move the judge for an order requiring the member to make this request.
- Landlords are prohibiting (without a court order) from evicting the servicemember or dependents from a residential lease under a certain monthly amount (currently $3,991). An eviction can also be delayed for 3 or more months if service affects the tenants’ ability to pay.
- The servicemember or spouse may terminate a residential, business, or vehicle lease entered prior to service or, if after entry to service, based on deployment or relocation. The vehicle lease termination is available only if deployment is greater than 180 days. Again, the civilian spouse’s lawyer can request an order from the judge that would permit the civilian spouse and children to terminate a lease and find better housing, or provide financial relief.
- Creditors may be prohibited from foreclosing a mortgage if the mortgage was entered prior to entry to active duty and the family’s ability to pay is “materially affected” by the member’s active duty.
In the right circumstances, the above options can provide important relief for both servicemembers and their spouses during periods of deployment. Specifically, civilian spouses can potentially ensure family housing and financial relief if the servicemember is uncooperative.