In addition to the requirements of the Federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), the Florida SCRA requirements have their own overlay of protections and requirements.
Florida SCRA Requirements
The federal statute only covers reserves and call-ups by the president. Florida State Statute 250.5201(3) expands protections to include governor-ordered National Guard call-ups, but only if the service exceeds 17 days.
In such cases, in any civil action or proceeding, the judge may stay the proceedings for up to 30 days on its own, and must stay upon motion of either party, unless the court finds that the ability to prosecute or defend the action is not materially affected by reason of the active duty status.
Also included under Section 250.5205 are proceedings to enforce mortgages and debts on personal property (like car loans) that predate the date of active duty. In such cases, the court can “otherwise dispose of the case as is equitable to conserve the interests of all parties.” Foreclosures and seizures aren’t valid if made within 30 days of active duty. This is as opposed to the federal SCRA, which gives a longer protection period after active duty, without court approval.
In order for a person to obtain the stay, he has to supply to the creditor/landlord, or court, with a copy of a statement from the “Adjutant General of the State of Florida” that the person has served continuously on state orders.
Florida Real Estate
Florida also allows active duty servicemember to terminate real estate contracts.
Title XL, Chapter 689, Section 689.27 permits the servicemember to terminate the contract if any of the following circumstances exist:
- Servicemember terminates active duty and his home before active duty was more than 35 miles from the property;
- Change of duty station more than 35 miles from the property;
- Servicemember allowed to move into government living quarters;
- Servicemember receives temporary orders to an area more than 35 miles away.
- “Servicemember” includes state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard 250.01(19).
- “State active duty” means duty when ordered by the Governor or the Adjutant General 250.01(21).
A good District Court of Appeal decision on point is Higgens v. Timber Springs Homeowners.
Florida Affidavit of Military Service
The Florida Supreme Court has issued its own “Approved Family Law form 12.912(b) – Affidavit of Military Service.”
In other situations, the SCRACVS has developed a second form affidavit which differs from the nationwide affidavit. This one confirms the age of the person swearing to the affidavit, that he/she is of sound mind and knows the facts.