Military Affidavits In Support of the SCRA

What are military affidavits?

Military affidavits differ slightly depending on where you are located, but all of them do the same thing:  to confirm to the court whether the individual is in active military service.

Technically, a military affidavit is a notarized, court document that many states use to determine someone’s active-duty status. This form will typically contain the individual’s basic personal information, such as name and date of birth. It also contains a section where the signer can either confirm or deny the individual’s active-duty status. There is a third option if the signer isn’t sure of the person’s military status. If the individual isn’t on active duty, a space is usually provided to explain how this is known.

Why are military affidavits important?

So military affidavits confirm or deny active service, but why exactly does a debt collector or a plaintiff in court need to do that?

Well, military affidavits come into play in court during certain processes, such as foreclosures or default judgments. For example, if an individual does not show up for a court case, a military affidavit confirming his or her active-duty status absolves him or her of any negative consequences, since the law excludes servicemembers from having to show up to court while deployed.

Additionally, plaintiffs cannot initiate a foreclosure if the individual behind on mortgage payments is on active duty. A lender intending to foreclose on a borrower should first obtain a military affidavit proving they aren’t on active duty. This helps avoid legal entanglements.

Any legal action regarding a servicemember’s financial obligations will typically require a military affidavit to move forward smoothly. The SCRA simply offers too many protections for debt collectors not to verify military service before taking actions against individuals who may be servicemembers. Making the mistake of skipping active-duty status verification could drag out what would have been a simple legal process.

Why and how do you need to acquire a military affidavit?

So what sort of actions, specifically, will require an affidavit?

The judicial foreclosure process will typically require one. Even in nonjudicial jurisdictions, if you foreclose on someone who claims to be on active duty, you should be have documents verifying that the individual is not, and thus also not eligible for SCRA protections. Vehicle repossessions will move along faster if you have an affidavit proving the individual is not on active duty.

Luckily, there are services that make it extremely easy to acquire a verified active-duty service affidavit. For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service accesses the Defense Department’s Defense Manpower Data Center to determine whether someone is on active duty service. SCRACVS then provides users with a verified military affidavit. The service also offers the option to fill out the affidavit for users. This makes the process easier for lenders and debt collectors who have enough to worry about with payment issues.

Compare the DMDC with SCRACVS

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a military affidavit?

A military affidavit is a sworn document showing that a diligent search has been made and the results of that search. Courts generally require a military affidavit before a court case may advance for collections, landlord/tenant matters, foreclosure, repossession, or other adverse action. The format of the affidavit is not defined by the statute. Some states and some courts, however, require that their own particular forms be used. The SCRACVS keeps a library of those forms.

What is a non military affidavit?

A non-military affidavit is just another term for military affidavit. Some courts call them Active Duty Verification Affidavits, or Affidavits Pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Why are military affidavits important?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is designed to protect our servicemembers from actions that might distract them from their important duties. The courts are charged with the responsibility of enforcing the SCRA. The courts first look to the plaintiffs to provide a military affidavit to show the court that someone has made a diligent search to make sure that the defendant is not covered by the SCRA. The military affidavit is one of the most important documents in a case.

What does affidavit as to military service filed mean?

This is a synonym for military affidavit.

What is an affidavit of due diligence?

The military records maintained by the DMDC can only be indexed by social security number. There is a second alternative which is a search by date of birth only. This second alternative is not preferable because the search results are not reliable. The only reliable search results are those that used the social security number. All documents resulting from a date-of-birth-only search will have a disclaimer that says that the results are not guaranteed. Most of the time, the SCRACVS is able to find social security numbers. There is a small number of cases where this is not possible: young children and the very elderly may not have enough information in secure databases used by the SCRACVS to show a social security number. A foreign national may not have a social security number. A name might be so common that it is impossible to tell which of the many people with that name is the person being searched. In those situations, the SCRACVS issues an “affidavit of due diligence” telling the court what searches were done, but that there is insufficient information to process an SCRA verification.

Is SCRA only for active duty?

The SCRA covers not only active duty personnel. There are several provisions that provide protection after the end of active duty. There are other provisions that give some protections to dependents; however, the dependents would generally have to go to a court to apply for the coverage.

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