Code Section

Military and Veterans Code - MVC

DIVISION 2. THE MILITARY FORCES OF THE STATE [100 - 567]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 389. )
  

PART 1. THE STATE MILITIA [100 - 491.3]

  ( Part 1 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 389. )
  

CHAPTER 7.5. Protections [400 - 409.15]
  ( Chapter 7.5 added by Stats. 2002, Ch. 60, first Sec. 6. )

  
403.  

(a) At any stage in any action or proceeding in which a service member is involved, either as plaintiff or defendant, during a period of military service or within 120 days thereafter, the court may, in its discretion on its own motion, and shall, on application to it by the service member or some person on his or her behalf, stay the action or proceeding unless, in the opinion of the court, the ability of the plaintiff to prosecute the action or the defendant to conduct his or her defense is not materially affected by reason of his or her military service.

(b) When an action for compliance with the terms of any contract is stayed pursuant to this section, no fine or penalty shall accrue by reason of failure to comply with the terms of the contract during the period of the stay, and in any case where a person fails to perform any obligation and if a fine or penalty for the nonperformance is incurred a court may, on those terms as may be just, provide relief against the enforcement of that fine or penalty if it appears that the person who would suffer by that fine or penalty was in the military service when the penalty was incurred and that by reason of military service the ability of the person to pay or perform was thereby materially impaired.

(c) In any action or proceeding against a service member, before or during the period of the service, or within 120 days thereafter, the court may, in its discretion on its own motion, or shall, upon application to it by the service member or some person on his or her behalf, unless in the opinion of the court the ability of the defendant to comply with the judgment or order entered or sought is not materially affected by reason of his or her military service, do either of the following:

(1) Stay the execution of any judgment or order entered against a service member.

(2) Vacate or stay any attachment or garnishment of property, money, or debts in the hands of another, whether before or after judgment.

(d) Any stay of any action, proceeding, attachment, or execution ordered by any court under this section may, except as otherwise provided, be ordered for the period of military service and three months thereafter or any part of that period, and subject to those terms as may be just, including terms with respect to payment in installments of those amounts at those times as the court may fix. If the service member is a codefendant with others the plaintiff may nevertheless, by leave of court, proceed against the others.

(e) A service member who is granted a stay of a civil action or proceeding under this section may apply for an additional stay based on continuing material effect of military duty on the service member’s ability to appear. If the court refuses to grant an additional stay of proceedings, it shall appoint counsel to represent the service member in the action or proceeding.

(f) An application for a stay under this section does not constitute an appearance for jurisdictional purposes and does not constitute a waiver of any substantive or procedural defense, including a defense relating to lack of personal jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 555, Sec. 5. (AB 3212) Effective January 1, 2019.)