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Case re repossessed vehicles spotlights military legislation

You’d think one of the largest credit unions in the United States would be up to speed on prominent legislation that has long protected active-duty military members against certain financial and other exactions.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is anything but covert regarding the safeguards it spells out for servicemembers who might otherwise confront dire challenges while serving their country.

The SCRA has a clear mandate, as noted in one official military publication. That is to “postpone or suspend financial or civil obligations to prevent [servicemembers] from being taken advantage of while on active duty and away from home.”

The list of such obligations is both explicit and lengthy under the SCRA. Bullet-point entries include matters such as these:

  • Court actions related to divorce, child support and other family law matters
  • Evictions from dwellings
  • Creditor foreclosures
  • Vehicle repossessions

That last-noted item was prominently highlighted in a case involving the above-cited credit union, which flagrantly contravened the SCRA’s ban against repossessing vehicles in certain instances. A recent media release by the U.S. Department of Justice chronicles the multiple violations committed by the Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union. That entity repossessed the cars of seven active military members. It moved against those individuals without having first obtained a court order to do so, which is a specifically enumerated requirement under the SCRA.

It will now pay for its unlawful actions, having reached a settlement with the DOJ that mandates personal payments made to each affected servicemember, coupled with a civil-damages payment to the federal government.

The SCRA can be a valuable tool for military members involved in divorces and linked matters. An Arkansas servicemember seeking further information can contact a Little Rock family law firm that routinely provides diligent representation to military clients across a wide universe of concerns.

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