But money lenders, landlords, storage facility owners or anyone who does business with members of the military must be careful not to violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. A federal statute, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, is designed to protect active-duty servicemembers who may not be able to appear in court due to their obligations.
If a plaintiff files suit and the defendant doesn’t show up in court, the result is often a default judgment. But the process is different when dealing with members of the military. Until the plaintiff produces an affidavit, the court won’t enter a default judgment.
A military affidavit basically says that you have conducted a diligent search, and that the defendant is not on active military duty or otherwise protected by the act.
You Need a Military Affidavit
A military affidavit goes by different names, depending upon the particular court. These include:
- Affidavit of military service
- Nonmilitary affidavit
- Affidavit in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
In order to get an affidavit, you must first get reliable military verification. It is possible for individuals or companies to get military verification from the Defense Department’s Department Manpower Data Center. However, you must provide specific information, and you can’t be sure of the results until you receive them.
The DMDC only provides reliable military verifications if you provide a Social Security number. If you don’t have this, the DMDC may respond to your request, but the verfication will come with a disclaimer saying the results may not be reliable. Such documenation will not likely satisfy the courts.
The SCRACVS Can Help
In the event that you want to file suit but do not have the defendant’s Social Security number, your best bet it to turn to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service (SCRACVS) for help. We are a valuable, inexpensive, secure online tool for obtaining the necessary documents, and we provide military affidavits without a Social Security number. We can use other methods to obtain a military status verification, such as:
- Names of known relatives or associates
- Telephone numbers
- VIN numbers
- Business information
Military verifications are usually delivered the same or the following business day. Once you have the military verification, you must bring it to court with you. The SCRACVS can also provide military affidavits upon request.
After the court receives and approves the affidavit stating the defendant is not on active military duty and that you have complied with other local requirements, the court may enter a default judgment against the defendant.