Facing a foreclosure is hard enough. For members of the military, it’s even harder. How can anyone be expected to deal with an impending foreclosure while being deployed overseas in service of our country? It’s bad enough having to worry about your spouse and children being evicted from the home in which they live – imagine having to do so while you’re risking life and limb overseas.
Fortunately, laws exist to prevent our servicemembers from confronting this nightmare. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. Sections 501-596, is, by its very terms, intended to enable the brave men and women of our military to “devote their entire energy to the needs of the nation” by requiring that lawsuits, including foreclosure lawsuits, be stayed while the servicemember is deployed. There are exceptions, of course (just like most things in the law), but the way I read the statute, it would be hard for any judge to allow a foreclosure to proceed against a homeowner who is overseas on active military duty. See Coburn v. Coburn, 412 So. 2d 947 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982). Significantly, there is no distinction even if the servicemember has an able-bodied spouse home to defend the foreclosure case – the entire lawsuit is still stayed.
If you’re a member of the military, are about to be deployed overseas, and are facing foreclosure, make sure the judge handling your case knows about your deployment. That’s what I just did for one client in a case before Judge Levens in Tampa, and the court entered an Order Staying The Case until his deployment ends. This means, in essence, that no activity can happen in the case until my client returns from his deployment, ensuring that there will be no foreclosure, if at all, until after my client’s deployment is over. Banks may think this is unfair, but The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is specifically designed to ensure that servicemembers can “devote their entire energy to the needs of the nation” and not have to worry about pending foreclosure lawsuits.