When, despite all your best efforts, you cannot determine the military status of the defendant in your court case, you will need an affidavit of due diligence.
Some businesses deal with members of the military more than others. These include banking, property management, public storage and more. In these businesses, it’s imperative to check military status if you plan to file suit against the customer or tenant. Otherwise, you risk violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which may come with fines and penalties.
How do you determine military status?
Military Status Verification Process
When a business or individual needs a military status verification, they often turn to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service. Ideally, the owner, landlord or representative of the plaintiff provides us the defendant’s Social Security number. Then, usually the same day, we provide a definitive military status verification. Having the Social Security number makes the process infinitely easier and faster. The Department of Defense will not issue a complete military status verification without the Social Security number. You can submit just the date of birth, but that comes back with bolded language on the Defense Department’s certificate stating the results are not guaranteed, and that might annoy a judge.
If you don’t have the debtor’s Social Security number, the SCRACVS can still help you. We can use other identifying information, such as name, birth date, address, driver’s license number, relatives’ names, etc., to research secure databases throughout the country to help us find the Social Security number. Providing this information to us when you place the order saves time because then we do not have to come back to you to request it.
The databases we use usually contain information gathered from financial records such as bank statements, bills, orders from vendors, magazine subscriptions, etc., as well as some court, DMV and voting records, depending upon the debtor’s state of residence. The databases also may include variations on a name, phone numbers, professional licenses and more.
When You Need an Affidavit of Due Diligence
Alas, there are some times when, despite all of our best efforts, we cannot determine a debtor’s military status. Often this is because there is just not enough reliable information.
In some instances — such as with foreign nationals, very young or very old people — the defendant may not be in any databases. Searches may also yield no results if the debtor’s name is incorrect, misspelled or is an alias. Conversely, if the defendant has a common name, there may be too many results to narrow them down with certainty.
What do we do then?
We issue you an affidavit of due diligence.
This notarized document outlines the steps we took — unsuccessfully — to find the information required by the DOD. It allows your case to move forward quickly, without aggravating continuances and requests for documents that may be unavailable indefinitely.
While each judge and court has the discretion to review documents and ultimately reject them, we have not heard of any court rejecting our affidavits of due diligence.
The charge for an affidavit of due diligence is $20 and overnight delivery is available (must order by 3 p.m. EST, business days only).
Take the easiest and fastest route to a resolution of your dispute with a customer or tenant by relying on the SCRACVS to provide the documentation you need.