Divorce, Child Custody and Domestic Relations Under SCRA

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law offering protections to people in military service. Its purpose is to cut down on distractions for military personnel while they perform their valuable services. Some states have passed additional SCRA protections, over and above the federal SCRA.

In divorce, child custody and domestic relations matters, the courts will look to see if any of the parties are servicemembers with rights under the SCRA. This is most often done when the other party doesn’t show up for the court date.

It is often your responsibility, as the plaintiff, to prove to the court that the other party is or is not in active military service. If submit proof that the other party is not on active duty, the case can usually proceed with no problem. Without this proof, the judge will usually continue the case for 90 days or appoint an attorney to represent the other party.

Get an Affidavit in Divorce Cases

The proof that the court will require is usually in the form of an affidavit. Other names for this document include:

  • Military affidavit
  • Nonmilitary affidavit
  • Affidavit pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
  • SCRA affidavit

When you have such documents in hand, you are certifying that you conducted a careful verification and that the individual is not (or is) in active military service.

The SCRA does not dictate a particular form to use. Most courts have accept the standard affidavit prepared by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (SCRACVS).

Some courts require you to use their forms, most of which we have at SCRACVS. Check with the court your case will be heard in to see if it requires a special form. If necessary, you can supply that form to the SCRACVS and we will complete, sign, notarize and return it to you.

Dates Matter in Custody Cases

When you seek a military verification is always according to a specific date. It is a snapshot. In effect, you are asking “as of (a certain date), what is/was the person’s military status?”

When you order a military verification, SCRACVS will provide documentation using the current date (the date the verification is performed). If you need to cover a range of past dates, we need to conduct one verification for each year. The verification will tell you the military status as of the search date, and 365 days prior to that. No records are available prior to Oct. 1, 1985.

Ordering a military affidavit is easy. The cost is $40 for the verification, and an additional $30 for the affidavit, which we can Fedex to you. It’s helpful to submit a Social Security number with your request, but it’s not required. If you know the person’s Social Security number, an alternate resource is the Defense Department’s database, but they provide no affidavits and offer no phone support or chat feature like SCRACVS does.

To order a military affidavit, first register and then login to your account.

Attorney Roy Kaufmann serves as the Director of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service, located in Washington, D.C. As a recognized authority on the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, Mr. Kaufmann has published hundreds of articles and hosted many webinars. His teachings help law firms and businesses to remain compliant with the SCRA rules and regulations so as to avoid costly fines.