Congress enacted the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to aid in protecting active-duty service members from civil actions at home. Originally enacted in 1940 as the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, the law imposes a one-year moratorium on civil actions filed against active-duty or recently-active military personnel.
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, certain civil proceedings cannot be brought against servicemen and women, including:
Repossession of real estate
The law has its origins in a similar legislation passed in 1918 in response to the United States' involvement in World War I. The original act was only in effect until the end of the conflict. In 1940, however, Congress once more recognized the need for similar measures. The law went into effect a year prior to the United States' entry into World War II and has remained in effect for seven decades.
Since its passage in 1940, the act has been revised more than a dozen times to reflect the realities of the contemporary military. In 2003, the most recent amendments were added. Before initiating civil proceedings, most courts require proof that a party is not an active-duty servicemember or servicewoman.
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