Up & Coming Weekly

October 20, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 15 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM OCTOBER 21-27, 2020 UCW 15 W hen a military servicemember receives orders to deploy or move, what happens to their lease or mortgage? W hat happens to their cable or internet bill? e local g ym membership? e Servicemembers Civil Relief Act steps in. Since W WII, federal law has protected America's servicemem- bers from various civil penalties through the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940. Faced with a new century and new conf licts, Congress enacted the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act in 2003 to "provide for, streng- then, and expedite the national defense." Congress designed the SCR A to ease the financial burdens service- members and their families face by temporarily suspending certain legal proceedings "that may adver- sely affect the civil rights of ser- vicemembers during their military service." W hat this means is that Federal law shields active duty service- members and their dependents in four categories, (1) housing and mortgages, (2) installment con- tracts, (3) life insurance, and (4) taxes. The Attorney General can file a federal lawsuit "against any person who violated [the SCR A] or enga- ge[d] in a violation that raises an issue of public importance." Individual servicemembers may also enforce the SCR A's protec- tions through a private action to "obtain any appropriate . . . relief," including attorney's fees and other damages. Under the SCR A, ser- vicemembers can waive this pro- tection if they choose to. Many people may not realize that North Carolina enacted its version of the SCR A in late 2019. North Carolina generally adop- ted the provisions of the SCR A, but expanded its protections to National Guardsmen serving for, or in, North Carolina "to the extent that the servicemember's military service materially affects the servi- cemember's ability to comply with his or her [civil] obligations." Much like Congress' version of the SCR A, North Carolina's ver- sion protects servicemembers and their dependents in the areas of (1) consumer service contracts, (2) evictions, (3) leases, and (4) stays specific to civil actions. The protections afforded to ser- vicemembers by North Carolina's version of the SCR A, unlike its federal counterpart, are un-waiva- ble. This is an essential distinction because North Carolina's SCR A safeguards service members from even being placed in the position of waiving their SCR A protections (i.e., a payment plan offered at a lower interest rate if the service member waives the protections of the SCR A). North Carolina law treats kno- wing violations of the SCR A as unfair and deceptive trade practi- ces, which allows the servicemem- ber to recover treble (triple) dama- ges and attorney's fees. Servicemembers need to know what protections are out there when financial burdens hit due to military service requirements. The following links have great infor- mation about those benefits and resources: https://w w w.justice.gov/service- members/servicemembers-civil- relief-act-scra https://22.nclamp.gov/publica- tions/take-1/the-servicemembers- civil-relief-act/ If a servicemember needs assis- tance related to suspected SCR A violations, they should consider consulting with an experienced attorney. Protecting those who serve by REBECCA BRITTON LEGALLY SPEAKING REBECCA BRITTON, Cofounder of Britton Law. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. FREE HEALTH CARE • for uninsured Adults call 910.485.0555 N O W L EA S I N G Proudly Managed By You Deserve Better. (910) 920-4491 4418-A BLANTON ROAD FAYETTEVILLE, NC 28303 FARADAYANDNORTHUMBERLAND.COM OFFICE HOURS MON, TUES & THURS 8:30AM - 5:30PM S TA R T I N G A T $ 6 0 0/ M O N T H * ONE & TWO BEDROOM APARTMENTS CA L L T O S C H E D U L E A T O U R O R A P P L Y O N L I N E T O DA Y! *PRICING SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE

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